40,000 Years Mural conservation underway
40,000 Years Mural conservation underway

40,000 Years Mural conservation underway

Work has begun on conserving an iconic 1980s mural in Redfern that recognises the rich and enduring stories of the Aboriginal Community.

The 40,000 Years is a Long, Long Time Mural was designed in 1983 by artist Carol Ruff, and painted collaboratively with Aboriginal artists and the community on a ninety-two metre long brick railway bridge on Lawson Street facing the entrance to Redfern Railway Station.

“Over time, the mural on the Lawson Street Bridge has faded and become damaged, and conservation work will remove the old mural entirely before it is repaired and reinstalled by conservation artists, with assistance from three Aboriginal Artists and the local community,” said UrbanGrowth NSW’s Redfern-Eveleigh Program Director Duncan Read.

UrbanGrowth NSW awarded a community grant of $28,000 towards the project, which is of cultural significance to local people and the Aboriginal community. It celebrates the rich diversity and history of Redfern. The Redfern Station Community Group has championed this project and actively engaged with local people and groups on its restoration.

UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation attended a lunch on Tuesday, 13 March at the Redfern Community Centre to mark the beginning of the conservation works.

“Like everyone here today, I’m looking forward to seeing this mural restored to its former glory,” said Mr Read. “It is thanks to a huge effort by the Redfern Station Community Group that the groups of people and organisations needed to make this happen have come together.

“We are very pleased that our grant, along with those from other supporters, means work can start tomorrow.”

The mural serves a civic-education purpose. It contains a visual cultural history of the area, within the broader theme of being a tribute to Aboriginal people throughout Australia who share the same stories. It is an iconic image, painted in a distinctive style that has references to cultural stories as well as reference to the 1980s – the era in which it was designed.

Financial support of $86,000 for the conservation is being provided by UrbanGrowth NSW, City of Sydney Council, Sydney Trains and the Department of Premier and Cabinet through Newtown State Greens MP Jenny Leong’s office, and a private donor.

The mural restoration will be undertaken in collaboration with Aboriginal artists, along with local Aboriginal groups and students from Eora College, Sydney TAFE.