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Commemorating a rape: Mary’s Place 1997 and 2010

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alison Atkinson-PhillipsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


In January 1996, a young, lesbian woman named Mary was verbally abused and physically and sexually assaulted in a laneway in Surry Hills, an inner suburb of Sydney. The homophobic hate crime became the catalyst for a place-based art project that reclaimed the laneway for Sydney’s LGBTIQ community. Just over a decade later, the original commemoration was replaced by a high profile public artwork. This paper offers a comparison of these two place-based commemorations. Although only a relatively short period separates them, the social context is radically different, as is the response to the hate crime. Whereas the first Mary’s Place artwork focused on the LGBTIQ experience of violence, the 2010 commemoration emphasized Mary’s femaleness. By exploring the similarities and differences of the two responses, this paper explores changes over time in social responses to LGBTIQ people, and the power of language in responses to violence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Atkinson-Phillips A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Outskirts

Year: 2018

Volume: 38

Pages: 1-17

Print publication date: 01/05/2018

Acceptance date: 03/04/2018

Date deposited: 07/08/2018

ISSN (electronic): 1445-0445

Publisher: University of Western Australia