Forty Thousand Years Mural in Redfern restored in the face of gentrification

Meredith Griffiths, ABC News, 28 Apr 2018

The Redfern community is celebrating the restoration of an iconic mural at the entrance to the Block.


Indigenous artists, TAFE students and conservationists have been tracing and repainting the 40 Thousand Years Mural for the past six weeks.


Stretching the length of the railway bridge, the mural is one of the first things people see when they leave Redfern station.


Indigenous artist Thea Perkins helped with the restoration and said it was wonderful to have such vibrant images so close to a train station as busy as Redfern.


"There's been a real problem with this community being sort of pushed out to the peripheries because of things like gentrification so its important to have this kind of reiteration and reaffirmation."


"We have an oral culture which is all about reiteration so it's very important to have things repainted and even rock art that would be repainted as generations came through and giving young artists opportunities to work on it and have ownership," she said.


Ms Perkins is the granddaughter of legendary activist Charlie Perkins. Perkins was a part of the Stolen Generation, removed from the place he was born, but found community in Redfern.


His granddaughter, who spent a lot of time in Redfern while growing up, said a lot of people know they will find themselves welcome there.


"Many people coming from the country to live in Sydney, they'd arrive here and so, a huge community built around this place and that's why the mural is so important," she said.


Ms Perkins said that was the section that locals were most worried about being touched.


"Lots of people would come past and say 'that's my grandfather' or 'that's my uncle' which was amazing because it was beautiful to see how connected the community were to the mural and to these people," she said.