|ETERNITY WRITTEN ACROSS SYDNEY - by Graham McLennan|
THE STORY OF ARTHUR STACE:
The word " Eternity" emblazoned on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and viewed all around the world on New Year's Eve to mark the new millennium has special significance to many of us who grew up in Sydney. It has become an icon to many with numerous inspirational messages. In reality it is the story of a drunk, illiterate man who came to know the Christ of the gospels and single-mindedly pursued his purpose for living.
Arthur Stace grew up in Balmain in the late 1800's,
the son of alcoholic parents. He & his sisters who were later to
become prostitutes scrounged for food by taking "samples" of milk &
bread left on Balmain doorsteps as well as the local grocers. He served in
the Great War as a stretcher bearer , took to the "plonk" himself
and did a few stints in goal. Arthur Stace, at the age of 45 in August
1930 walked into St Barnabas Church, Broadway, Sydney was deeply
moved by the Christian message and gave his life to Christ ,
kneeling down under a Moreton Bay Fig tree opposite in the park at the
corner of Broadway and City Road.
Arthur Stace's "mission" spread over four decades continuing when he was in his eighties, always kneeling down to write in an attitude of prayer . He died 83 years of age in the Hammondville retirement village. The word "Eternity" can still be faintly recognised inside the G.P.O. bell in Sydney and is commemorated by a replica in St Andrews Square next to the Sydney Town Hall. It is estimated he wrote "Eternity" over 500,000 times on Sydney Streets, as well as neighbouring Wollongong & Newcastle, certainly an epic for one word.
Graham McLennan, Chairman NACL.