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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

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4

?Eternity? sign by Arthur Stace

Object information

Description

Arthur Stace was a reformed alcoholic who for 35 years was inspired to write 'Eternity' in perfect copperplate in chalk on the streets of Sydney. Many people who lived in or visited, Sydney between 1932 and 1967, would have seen the word written on footpaths. He is said to have written 'Eternity' over half a million times.

Physical description

Sign with 'Eternity' written in copperplate writing style in white chalk on a piece of cardboard painted with blackboard paint.

Statement of significance

The Eternity symbol has become an Australian icon. The story of Arthur Stace's salvation in Sydney in the 1930s and the appearance of the mysterious 'Eternity' word chalked on street pavers, captured the imagination of the nation.

This Eternity sign is of added significance because it still exists. The ephemeral nature of the medium, the chalked word, means the sign is especially precious and remarkable. This is one of only two examples of Arthur Stace's Eternity still in existence.

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