Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Blacktown unveils memorial to domestic violence victims

Blacktown City Council has officially unveiled a memorial for victims of domestic violence and their families.

Mayor of Blacktown City Tony Bleasdale OAM and Deputy Mayor Julie Griffiths joined with families, police, local domestic violence service representatives and women’s advocates to open the memorial.

Known as Memorial Grove, Council says the garden recognises the pain and trauma borne by the victims of domestic violence and their loved ones.

The project was an initiative of Blacktown City’s Women’s Advisory Committee, led by Chair Cr Griffiths, and brought together family members of domestic violence victims, artists and community representatives.

Mayor Bleasdale said the project was driven by the families of women and children who had lost their lives to this senseless violence.

“A few years ago, a brave Kylie Druitt and Hayley and Ireland Rhodes attended a Women’s Advisory Committee meeting and spoke of their pain in losing a loved one to domestic and family violence,” he said.

“These women sought a space close to home where they could honour the memory of their loved ones. Through their bravery and sharing their trauma with us, Memorial Grove was born. 

“This memorial offers a safe, quiet place of reflection where the families of victims and all members of the community can gather and remember those whose lives were tragically cut short.”

The memorial features a central sculpture, seating and a pathway surrounded by trees within the Blacktown Showground Precinct. Inside the sculpture hangs a wind chime, with personalised tributes to victims.

“Designed by artist Yu-Fang Chi, the sculpture is titled Contemplate and explores the impact of a droplet falling on the surface of water,” said Cr Griffiths.

“This sculpture takes on multiple meanings, and invites us to reflect on the source of life, of transformation, as well as tears.

“The piece is inspired by the curved shape of a water droplet and captures the themes of contemplation and healing.

“This memorial is a small step in our shared journey of healing and I hope it provides some comfort for the families of victims within our community.”

Hayley Rhodes led one minute’s silence in memory of victims at the official opening.

“As Mayor, I truly hope this memorial will provide a place of healing and also inspire transformation – the transformation of our City into a much safer place for our women and our children,” said Mayor Bleasdale.

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