A striking new mural at Beattie Lane in the northern Sydney suburb of Hornsby is shining a light on significant moments from the area’s rich history while profiling characters from the present day, injecting new life into a once forgotten pocket of the suburb’s west side.
Commissioned by Hornsby Shire Council as part of an initiative to enliven Hornsby’s west side, the mural was painted by renowned muralist, Hugues Sineux and tells the story of the history of the precinct through a patchwork of images of historic events and references of the neighbourhood from the 20th Century.
Painted in sepia tones, the fascinating ‘notice board of photos and articles’ is juxtaposed with brightly coloured images of modern-day local people all connected with Fusion – a community charity located in 1-3 Jersey Street, which the new mural now adorns.
“I wanted to tell a bit about the story of this area, and it can be something a bit educational for the kids…The idea is to represent a little part of the past and at the bottom we will represent present day people in a very modern way,” said Hugues.
Sourced from the book Pictorial History Hornsby Shire by Mari Metzke, Hornsby Shire Council’s Hornsby Recollects platform and Hornsby Shire Historical Society, the historical images depict local landmarks including Hornsby oldest buildings – the railway station and the Railway Hotel – as well as the original post office and Peats Ferry Road. Onlookers will also see historic articles about Judges Bakery which once stood on Coronation Street.
In contrast, the life-sized colourful profiles of today’s residents jump off the wall with vitality, representing the broad spectrum of people that now call Hornsby Shire home. From 83-year-old Phyl who has been volunteering with Fusion for 30 years to local mum Danielle, and her two young children Ethan, aged 9 and Zoe, aged 7. Also pictured are Sue, who is wearing a mask to timestamp the mural, and Mark who is carrying Metze’s book.
“It was great to work with the Hornsby locals. They were so enthusiastic, it was fun. It was important to represent modern Hornsby with the bright colours against the muted colours of the past,” Hugues continued.
Normanhurst resident, Phyl, has seen some dramatic changes in Hornsby’s city scape over the years. For her, it was fascinating to get a glimpse into Hornsby’s past.
“I’m interested in history. I do family history so seeing all the old photos of Hornsby and watching the mural evolve has been very interesting… It’s nice to reflect on the past and I hope people can take that away from seeing the mural,” she said.
For volunteer Sue, the chance to share Hornsby’s past with people is a privilege. She hopes the mural also encourages people to volunteer at Fusion, which supports locals in need.
“Over the 30 years that I’ve lived in Hornsby, I’ve seen it change markedly. I know a lot of people don’t like change, but I think it’s really lovely. This mural gives you a flashback to the past… It’s been quite an honour to be immortalised in this way… I’d like to think that this will raise the profile of Fusion and more people will volunteer, there’s so many people doing it tough at the moment, it’s very important that we all give back to the community,” said Sue.
Normanhurst resident, Mark, is passionate about helping the homeless and picks up food from the supermarkets for Fusion. He, too, hopes the mural with help to attract volunteers and donations.
“I hope that this mural will solicit interest within the community, and we get the help that we desperately need,” said Mark.
Hornsby Shire Mayor, Philip Ruddock congratulated Hugues for his excellent work.
“This new mural has brought life to a lesser-known pocket of Hornsby and shares our fascinating history while acknowledging the vibrancy of life here today. I encourage everyone to take a walk down memory lane and enjoy rediscovering this significant pocket of Hornsby,” the Mayor said.
“We thank the NSW Government for its support in delivering this important project.”
The Beattie Street Lane mural is part of a Crime Prevention Grant provided by the NSW State Government designed to reduce illegal graffiti in the precinct.
It’s hoped it will also encourage people to walk through the laneway from parking on Jersey Street to the cafes and restaurants on Hornsby’s west side. The mural will be lit in the evenings to enhance safety in the precinct. Two additional murals have also been commissioned in the precinct as part of this grant program. For further information visit hornsby.nsw.gov.au/coronation-streat.