Published on 14 May 2021

Place of Courage unveiled at Rotary Park

Rotary Park at Christies Beach is now home to the first Place of Courage public artwork, which acknowledges the traumatic and ongoing impact domestic and family violence has on the community.

Intended to be a space of comfort and healing, Place of Courage is the inspiration of Helen Oxenham OAM. Helen is the founder of Spirit of Woman, a not-for-profit organisation seeking to change the discourse on domestic and family violence through the creation of these public spaces.

The Christies Beach project was made possible through funding from City of Onkaparinga, the previous state government and Rotary Club of Morphett Vale.

It’s the first in a series of planned Place of Courage public artworks across the state, with the primary site envisaged at the Adelaide Parklands, and local councils encouraged to install Ripples Across SA artworks like Rotary Park’s.

Another Place of Courage artwork is planned for the garden area beside the Seaford Community Centre.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson expressed her pride in supporting a public art space designed to provide a safe space for the community to reflect on the issue of domestic and family violence.

“This site will be a place of reflection, a place of commemoration and importantly, a community gathering place,” she said.

“It will be a place to come together, to encourage conversations about how to prevent and end domestic violence and bring awareness of the issue to the public eye.

“It will be a place to hold vigils, a place to gain courage and a public space to gather and seek solidarity for a world free from domestic violence.

“It’s particularly fitting that the first Place of Courage location is on the same road that one of South Australia’s first women’s shelters was established by Helen Oxenham herself in Beach Road.”

The carved granite artwork at Rotary Park was created by artists Christine Cholewa and Deb Jones (collectively known as CHEB) and is part of a suite of concepts created by the artists to link Place of Courage sites across Adelaide.

Helen Oxenham was delighted to see the first public artwork celebrating her concept come to life.

As someone with lived experience of domestic and family violence, it pains me every day that women and children are experiencing the same suffering and trauma as I did. It has to stop,” Helen said.

“I created the concept of the Place of Courage to help bring this issue into the light—and to bring it from behind closed doors, into the public domain. I believe this is where change happens, and this project will be a catalyst to help women heal, mourn and have the courage to step up and speak out”.

“At 90 years, I am so grateful that I am here to see the first Place of Courage Ripple site come to life. I am proud to have left this legacy—to my family, to my community, and to my country.”

Member for Reynell Katrine Hildyard MP said she felt honoured to have been involved in bringing the Place of Courage project to fruition at Christies Beach.

“Together as a community we must prevent and end the horrific scourge of domestic violence,” she said.

“As well as being an important place of healing that honours those who have been killed or abused, the Place of Courage encourages community conversation, awareness and reflection about what we can do to ensure women and children are safe, as they should always be.

“I’m deeply honoured to have worked alongside beautiful Helen Oxenham and all who support her vision to bring this very special place to life.

“It will help make a difference now, and long into the future as successive generations contemplate our need to work together for communities free from violence, and for peace, safety and love for all women and children.”

Residents are encouraged to visit Rotary Park and reflect on the words inscribed on the granite artwork, which read “Dedicated to all who have died, all who have suffered and all who are still suffering from domestic and family violence. May you find comfort and healing here”.

Place of Courage unveiled at Rotary Park