Personalities > Arthur Malcom Stace

Arthur Stace writing his message, Eternity, Sydney, 3 July 1963 by Trevor Dallen. National Library of Australia

Arthur Stace writing his message, Eternity, Sydney, 3 July 1963 by Trevor Dallen. National Library of Australia

Arthur Malcolm Stace

Arthur Malcolm Stace (1885-1967) “the Eternity Man” was born into poverty in Redfern, and lived a life of petty crime and alcohol until he enlisted in the AIF in 1916. In 1919 he resumed his former life, until 1930 when a preacher inspired him to give up drink and help other down-and-out men to recreate their lives. When he heard an evangelist wish that he could  ‘shout eternity through the streets of Sydney’, Stace was inspired to his life’s work: from then on he wrote Eternity in chalk on Sydney pavements – by his own count – fifty times a day. Mostly he did this work in the early morning, preserving his secrecy. This practice offended the City of Sydney, and he was often detained but never charged for this offence.

In 1942 he married Pearl. They lived in Bulwara Road, Pyrmont, until she died in 1961. Four years later Arthur moved into the Hammondville homes, where he died in 1967.

Eternity, written on cardboard by Arthur Stace for his friend Thelma Dodds 1960-1967. National Museum of Australia

Eternity, written on cardboard by Arthur Stace for his friend Thelma Dodds 1960-1967. National Museum of Australia

Stace's gravestone

Stace's gravestone