Arthur Stace, also known as 'Mr Eternity, is an iconic Sydney identity renowned for anonymously chalking the word 'Eternity' on Sydney's footpaths for over 30 years.
The WWI veteran and reformed alcoholic attended services at the Burton Street Tabernacle and it was here that Stace heard the sermon that would ultimately change the course of his life. On 14 November 1932 Rev. John Ridley’s rallying cry that he wished that he could "shout eternity through the streets of Sydney" inspired Stace to take to the streets with a piece of chalk.
Over the next 30 years Stace would set out from his home in Pyrmont in the early morning and handwrite ‘Eternity’ on Sydney’s pavements in his perfect copperplate script. Workers arriving in the city would see the word freshly written, yet his identity remained a mystery and "The man who writes Eternity" became something of a Sydney legend. Stace was eventually caught in the act and his identity was revealed in an article published in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph on 21 June 1956.
Stace died of a stroke on 30 July 1967 at the age of 83. It is estimated that he wrote the word ‘Eternity’ on Sydney’s streets more than half a million times. While his chalk markings have long left the city streets, Stace’s legacy lives on in the imagination of Sydneysiders, inspiring an opera, renowned artworks, and celebrations for the Millennium in 1999 and the Sydney Olympics in 2000. And now of course there is another tribute to the famous pavement scribe with the opening of Sydney’s newest theatre, the Eternity Playhouse.
The Man that Sydney’s Wondered About Sunday Telegraph (1956)
An End to Eternity Daily Telegraph (1967)
From the battlefield to saving souls Sydney Morning Herald (2009)