Medlow Bath Park AIDS Memorial Restoration
The restoration is a joint project by the Medlow Bath Residents Association (MBRA) and the Three Sisters Social Group.
The Blue Mountains AIDS Memorial project was initiated in 1991 by the Medlow Bath Park Advisory Committee. The committee was a group of concerned Blue Mountains residents and friends throughout New South Wales.
The Medlow Bath Park was transformed from a somewhat forlorn and inhospitable area to a quiet, peaceful and contemplative space by the Committee of volunteers.
The memorial consists of a main memorial stone and some 120 small, ornamental naming plaques under trees. These were planted by the committee and families and friends to provide a living memorial of many of the 250 of those of the Blue Mountains community who had succumbed to AIDS.
Although the LGBTIQ community were hugely affected, the memorial is dedicated to the memories of all who succumbed to AIDS and to those left behind, the families, friends, neighbours, carers, health and medical professionals, community support groups and mountains folk.
It is now 30 years since the initiation of the project to provide a living memorial to the lives of the 250 victims of AIDS in the Blue Mountains. Needless to say, the ravages of time and nature have affected the memorial, particularly the plaques placed under the trees and, indeed, the trees themselves.
Many of the plaques and their plinths have been damaged and uprooted by the advancing years and lawn mowers. Some plaques are missing, although the Three Sisters committee and MBRA have rescued a few. Other plaques are overgrown.
The Medlow Bath Park has also been attacked by Armillaria root fungus which is affecting the trees in the park. Some of the memorial plantings have been infected and one has succumbed. The fungus is extremely difficult to control. Despite the BMCC investigating remedial action, the future of the AIDS memorial trees is very uncertain.
There is now an urgent need to restore the memorial in order to:
- Perpetuate the memories of the 250 Blue Mountains who died from AIDS related illness
- Maintain an historical reference in Medlow Bath integral to that community’s identity
- Continue Blue Mountains community commitment to the memory of those lost to us and of a traumatic event that touched so many.
The MBRA and the Three Sisters, in partnership with the Blue Mountains City Council, has
- identified a suitable site consisting of a circular garden within the park to enable the memorial plaques to be collectively displayed
- prepared the garden for the new memorial
- engaged a landscape designer to provide concept drawings and quote for the memorial.
The new site is within the park under a glade of mature trees. Whilst secluded, it is easily accessible by established paths. Seats face into the circle to provide a comfortable, contemplative environment.
The design by Justin Hungerford of Dig Design, Medlow Bath, has been paid for by a BMCC Community Assistance Grant for which we are very grateful. The design is detailed below.
- Sawn sandstone logs placed equidistant around perimeter of the garden; logs are chamfered for ease of reading of plaques.
- Plaques shall be placed in a mosaic/random placement. -Intent is to wander around circle, reading names, looking down, head bowed.
- The central feature tree, Cercis Forest Pansy, offers seasonal interest and foliage contrast as well as stunning pink flowers on bare stems in early spring.
- Underplanting is, simple low groundcover, and lomandra, intended to help anchor sandstone in the garden and give the impression of having always been there.
- Edging is to be corten steel.
The site has been prepared; the design has been done.
Estimated cost for the project is $17,000.
Can you help us with a donation to create this wonderful Memorial Garden? Any contribution towards the restoration of the AIDS Memorial would be gratefully accepted.
To make things easier, we have a suggested this donation programme:
- one of five plinths (two taken) with a plaque acknowledging the donor $1,300
- half a plinth with a plaque acknowledging the donors would be $700
- Mature Cercis Forest Pansy with plaque acknowledging the donor (one only – taken)
Make your donation to (please note: this is a new account number):
- Account Name: Three Sisters AIDS Memorial Appeal
- BSB: 633000
- Account: 196076855
- Reference: Your Name
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are donating a plinth or would like a receipt.