Thursday, October 09, 2008

Peter Norman Day Street Party

As I mentioned in my previous post, there was a street party organised for early this evening to celebrate Peter Norman Day, and to also circulate a petition to ask the council to amend the high noise barriers lining the laneway where the famous mural (below) stands, so that it can be seen from the trains that run alongside the laneway (as used to be the case).

Peter Norman Day Street Party


To quote from this events page:

"Peter Norman 1942-2006

At the 1968 Olympics Tommie Smith, Peter Norman and John Carlos made history, two black Americans each with their head bowed raised a black gloved hand, as Norman the silver medalist, stood looking directly ahead. All wore human rights badges. Smith and Carlos paid an immediate price.

They were immediately withdrawn from the relays and expelled from the Olympic village. Peter Norman who is the last Australian male sprinter to win an Olympic medal was snubbed on his return to Australia and failed to be selected for the 1972 Munich Olympic team despite his amazing sprinting talent. He was not invited to any of the Sydney 2000 Olympic ceremonies but on being invited to speak in the U.S refused to bad mouth the Sydney Olympic authority.

During the Sydney Olympics, a reporter from the Washington Post was amazed to find only one reference to Norman- an image on the side of a house in Redfern. Peter Norman died in 2006 and since then his nephew Matthew has produced a film called "Salute".

The U.S Track and Field federation declared October 9th as Peter Norman Day. It's time to put this date on our local calendar and celebrate Peter Norman's humble protest that touched the world and became such a powerful and inspiring image."


Peter Norman Day Street Party


Peter Norman Day Street Party


In classic Newtown fashion the event was a mix of old, young, dogs and kids, with more than a few local residents chatting and having a few beers, and even a bit of music thrown in. It seemed to be mostly residents who knew each other, so I signed the petition and left after sitting and listening to the music for a little while. It was a nice little something different to do on a late Thursday afternoon.

Peter Norman Day Street Party


Peter Norman Day Street Party


I strolled back through Newtown, shot a few more pics as the late afternoon sun faded, treated myself to a bit of take-away for dinner, and strolled home through the off-lead dog park - may favourite route. A bag full of take-away and a bunch of off-lead dogs... one word: POPULAR.

[Click any of the pics to see them bigger on Flickr.]

7 comments:

Cecilia said...

Thanks for a great post. I just showed that image to my students this week. Wish I had known about the mural. Where in Redfern is it?

I have a friend who teaches at San Jose State (where Carlos and Smith went to college). In the middle of campus there is a life-size statue of the famous scene with Peter Norman's place empty. Apparently Norman agreed to it and said the point was that any of us can (and should) stand in his place. Wish I had remembered to take a picture of it.

The Other Andrew said...

It's actually alongside McDonaldtown station in Leamington Lane. I'm not sure why it's referred to as being in Redfern!

NannaPeter said...

Ohh,Ohh, my part of Newtown. I would have known some of the partiers. I have always thought this piece of graffiti should be on the National Register.

I was *really* upset when I saw the Free the AnandaMarga [sic] 5 slogan had been knocked down. These slogans are up there with the Eternity chalk marks.

The Other Andrew said...

Maybe you should move back to this part of the world... I'm just sayin'... :)

NannaPeter said...

You know my feelings. Sadly, I can never live in inner Sydney ever again. My health deteriorates too much (breathing problems) for me to live in a big city again. But rural NSW to Sydney: it's such a short commute

The Other Andrew said...

I guess I'm such an inner urbanite in part because I don't drive, commuting on public transport becomes such a pain for going out at night etc. I guess anyone who does commute just needs to plan ahead more.

Anonymous said...

I know this was ages ago but I feel it hasn't been mentioned. I live on Leamington Ave and my room overlooks Leamington lane. I freakin' love that sound barrier.