For 35 years, beginning in 1932, the word ‘Eternity’ appeared daily on streets and walls around Sydney. The white chalk writing featured a beautiful copperplate script.
The identity of the writer remained a mystery for more than two decades. But in June 1956, The Sunday Telegraph revealed the mystery man was Arthur Stace. He became known as Mr Eternity.
Stace was born to alcoholic parents, had no education, was in and out of jail and regularly homeless. During the early 1930s, a couple of years after initially attending a church to get free food, he converted to Christianity.
He then began his ‘Eternity’ mission, rising each day before dawn to travel to a different suburb of Sydney. It’s estimated he wrote more than 500,000 ‘Eternity’ signs.
Stace was once asked about his inspiration for the signs. It came from a service at the Burton Street Baptist Church in Sydney’s CBD in 1932. At one point during the sermon, the minister, John Ridley, said: “Eternity, eternity, I wish I could sound or shout that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. You’ve got to meet it. Where will you spend eternity?”
A question for us all!
- This article was published in the Orange City Life newspaper on 11/05/2017