Mr Eternity

The story of Arthur Stace and the message of hope he wrote on the footpaths of Sydney.

“As a child, I played in the streets a lot and I did see him quite occasionally, walking around in a steady way, always dressed in a navy blue suit, always very neat, but I have no memory of seeing his face smiling,” Joan Riley recalls. “So I try not to be sad about that. But he did certainly make an impression on many people.”

Every day for more than 30 years, between the 1930s and 1960s, Arthur Stace would walk the streets of Sydney for hours, and write the word ‘Eternity’ on the city’s footpaths. Many, like Joan Riley, had no idea who was writing it, or why it was written, because Arthur Stace’s identity was a secret for almost 20 years.

“He was very humble and very shy, and he just felt this was his mission for God, and he didn’t feel that he needed to share it with anyone,” says Elizabeth Meyers, co-author with Roy Williams of Mr Eternity: The Story of Arthur Stace.

Her father was one of Arthur Stace’s closest friends, and even though he knew the identity of ‘Mr Eternity’, he kept it to himself until Arthur was ready and willing to share his story. “My father never even shared it with us as a family.”

In this episode, we trace the remarkable life of Arthur Stace, from his troubled childhood, alcoholism, and his time on the Western Front, through to the moment he turned his life around, and why he started writing Eternity everywhere he walked.

You’ll also hear from a few people who saw this mysterious man chalking his one-word message of hope all around Sydney, and the lasting impression it made on their lives.

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