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Mum Shirl and Father Ted Sculpture

The Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School and Community of St Vincent’s Church Redfern are inviting public comment for a Memorial Sculpture to honour the work of Mum Shirl and Father Ted Kennedy at a Public Meeting. This meeting is to seek wider community‐consultation with the Redfern community and to display the maquette (model) and photographs of how the full‐scale memorial sculpture will look on the footpath (in Regent Street).

Event details


May 20, 2009
from 08:00 AM to 10:00 AM


Redfern Community Centre

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The journey to creating the Ted Kennedy & Mum Shirl memorial sculptural since 2006:

In 2006, the year after Fr Ted Kennedy died, community members of St Vincent’s Church in Redfern approached Tom Bass AM and the Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School (the Studio) at Erskineville to make a memorial.

Multiple meetings followed to discuss the nature of this memorial project with Sr. Marnie Kennedy, Father Ted’s sister who continues some of his work in Redfern, and other members of the Church community including Catherine de Lorenzo, Bronwyn Crosby and Danny Gilbert. Ann Weldon (Mum Shirl’s niece) came to meetings when she was able to attend.

It was decided that the memorial be a tribute to the work Father Ted and Mum Shirl did together. Their lives exemplified the best of the Australian spirit. They worked to establish a society where justice and freedom for all citizens includes our Aboriginal cousins living with dignity and in equality with white settlers.

In November 2007, a meeting was held at St Vincent’s Church where the community who had been associated with Mum Shirl and Father Ted, had an opportunity to reflect and share with the Studio artists what these two amazing people had meant to them, the local people as well as the wider community.

In March 2008, In‐principle Council approval was sought and received for the memorial sculpture to be placed on the footpath outside 117 Redfern Street, near the space between St Vincent’s Church and the old Presbytery.

Over several months the Studio artists carried out additional investigation so that personal stories and attitudes could be taken into account. They sought out and meet with local Aboriginal people, particularly relatives and friends of Mum Shirl, who were intimately involved with her and her activities in the Redfern area and further afield.

The Studio artists under the direction of Tom Bass AM integrated this information and over time, a maquette (i.e. model) was developed which reflected the spirit of Mum Shirl and Father Ted Kennedy’s work together. It was decided that the work would be abstract in nature and symbolic of

the nurturing and political power of the combined work of these two individuals with a strong emphasis on Reconciliation.

The maquette for the memorial sculpture was presented at a Church meeting on Sunday 29th March this year and at the Block family picnic on Saturday 18th April. It was generally well received by local people and the Church community. The symbolism of the piece had whole hearted support. The Studio artists are working to resolve some of the concern about the maquette’s design.