Monday 17th October 2011
The Honourable Julia Gillard
Prime Minister of Australia
The Honourable Barry O’Farrell
Premier of New South Wales
The Honourable Clover Moore
Lord Mayor of Sydney
Dear Mesdames and Sir,
Re: Collection ‘The Keeping Place’
I write as a long time local solicitor and resident in supporting the request set out below and in giving myself as a contact for the campaign to preserve ‘The Keeping Place’
We the undersigned, request that the Syrons’ ‘Keeping Place’ collections be saved and secured for the Redfern and Waterloo community and the benefit of the public at large .
The collection is at present dispersed in Addison Road Gallery Marrickville Community Centre, individual private homes, churches, a barn in Gosford, and Greens Party HQ, Eve St. Erskineville, which has sprung a leak. It is in danger of being permanently and irrevocably lost, damaged and/ or dispersed.
The Syrons lived in the Eveleigh Railway Shed for over 3 years with the collection, with Robert Domm's permission. The Wilson St shed became earmarked for re-development; after eviction notices were issued and a lengthy mediation the Syrons and the collection vacated the shed and have since lost a battle to keep the collection together.
The Elaine Pelot-Syron photographic archive has been separated now from the art making the collection smaller and more viable and marketable. The photographic archive has been accepted by Sydney University and is appropriately part of the Eveleigh/Redfern area.
It is an example of the continuing neglect of Aboriginal Artists of New South Wales that there appears to be no viable and secure place to house the collection for the public benefit. .
This collection has many artworks of national and local significance.
For example a collection of Coloured Diggers artworks is very important to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people of the Redfern area, as well as having Australia-wide significance. There is a portrait of Shirley Smith, ‘Mum Shirl’ and a photographic collection of Eveleigh street and surrounds which spans three decades .
The website sellingoffablackfellasdream.com which will illustrate a lot of the collection will soon be available for viewing. There are thousands of items in the collection.
We join the patrons of ‘The Keeping Place‘ - Jeff McMullen, The Honourable Michael Kirby, Professor Larissa Behrendt and Craddock Morton working towards finally preserving and saving ‘The Keeping Place‘.
1. Stephen Friend, Solicitor, FRIEND & Co. Lawyers
2. Rev. Andrew Collis, South Sydney Uniting Church & Editor of South Sydney Herald
3. Rev. Dorothy McRae McMahon, South Sydney Uniting Church and SSH
4. Geoff Turnbull - REDWatch
5. Mick Mundine - CEO of Aboriginal Housing Co. & Pemulwuy project, Redfern
6. Naomi Mayers - Director of Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern (over 30 years)
7. Pastor Ray Minnecon - Aboriginal Pastor, runs the Aboriginal Digger Project
8. Shireen Malamoo - panel member of advisors to Sydney City Council
9. Lily Shearer - Director of Gadigal Information Services and Koori Radio
10. Millie Ingram - CEO of Wyanga, Redfern
11. Margaret Campbell- Walking Tours of the Rocks - Heritage Tours/Review of SHFA The Rocks- Proposed Management Advisory Panel for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage interpretation in The Rocks.
12. Shane Phillips - CEO of Tribal Warrior
13. Irene Doutney - Sydney City Councillor, Greens & Redfern resident