Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online




Eternity (1994)

Synopsis

Recreating Sydney in the 1930s, the documentary is the story of Sydneysider, Arthur Stace. Arthur had a hard life that deteriorated into alcoholism and despair. In 1930 he heard the call of God at the Baptist Ministry. Although illiterate, he went immediately into the street and wrote the word 'Eternity’ on the pavement in perfect copperplate handwriting. Believing that God asked him to continue that activity for the rest of his life, he wrote 'Eternity’ over 500,000 times, on the pavements and buildings of Sydney and later Wollongong and Newcastle. His message has become an icon of Sydney, much imitated by artists.

Curator’s notes

The work is an excellent example of creative filmmaking. Cinematographer Dion Beebe has beautifully recreated 1930s Sydney in black-and-white. Beebe has since gone on to a successful career in USA. The director, Lawrence Johnston has successfully used the medium to tell an engaging story of a simple man.