Legislative Council: Thursday, October 19, 2023


The Place of Courage

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:12): My question is to the Attorney-General. Will the minister inform the council about the recent The Place of Courage project event that he attended?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:12): I thank the honourable member for his question. I would be most pleased to inform the chamber about the recent The Place of Courage project that I note quite a number of members from the crossbench, from the opposition and from the government in this chamber and the other chamber attended recently. I, too, had the great honour of attending the recent event in support of the nation's first The Place of Courage, a contemporary art installation located in Adelaide's Bonython Park honouring victims and survivors of domestic and family violence.

The event was held at the Adelaide Town Hall with a packed house full of advocates, various ministers and, as I said, members of parliament from all sides, and other community leaders. It was facilitated by the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Dr Jane Lomax-Smith, with Councillor Mary Couros as the MC.

Speakers on the afternoon included my very passionate friend and colleague in another place the Hon. Katrine Hildyard, as the Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Natasha Stott Despoja AO, victim survivors and advocates, and also Rebecca Morse.

Domestic and family violence has been, until not all that long ago, a largely unspoken form of suffering and abuse. For many in our community, it sadly still is. The Place of Courage seeks to change that sense of isolation by establishing a permanent and visible tribute to the survivors and victims of domestic and family violence, showing that the community publicly acknowledges and supports people experiencing such forms of abuse.

I would like to thank everyone from The Place of Courage organisation, the Spirit of Woman, and the City of Adelaide, who have joined together with the South Australian government to firstly initiate and then to give this project wings. It was an incredibly moving experience to hear how important the erection of this art piece is, particularly for victim survivors of domestic and family violence and their loved ones. Not only is it a symbolic gesture of recognition and support but it is also a place of peace and tranquillity for people to visit.

The modern art installation, The Place of Courage, was crafted by Adelaide central artist Clancy Warner and their team and encapsulates the vision of the piece to provide a place for people to grieve, to find solace, heal, connect and educate. The art project was born from the inspiration of the Spirit of Woman founder, Helen Oxenham OAM, who established one of South Australia's first women's shelters many years ago at Christies Beach. Helen's motivation for pushing the project was that, while there are over 1,400 monuments to various wars, there were previously no monuments dedicated to the victims of domestic abuse. This project will be the first public tribute of its kind in our capital city.

The Place of Courage is also linked to smaller public art projects named ripples, which have been established in the City of Onkaparinga and the City of Charles Sturt, with one very soon to be launched in Murray Bridge. Spirit of Woman's desire is for each council to partner with an organisation, establishing their own ripple in their council area. I look forward to the new art piece being visited by many in the future, sparking conversations and greater awareness, and look forward to establishing further ripple projects right throughout South Australia.