A brief history of Eternity

The Brief Story of Eternity Arthur Stace was not a man that you would have spent your hard-earned money betting on to become a celebrity. Born to alcoholic parents in Sydney in 1885, he lived in grinding poverty. That led to stealing bread and milk and searching for scraps of food in bins. As a teenager, he became an alcoholic, was sent to jail at 15 and, in his twenties, he was a scout for his sisters' brothels. Arthur was 45 when he entered a church one day, probably to get out of the rain and hoping for a handout. The sermon concerned eternity. And, for reasons he could never explain, he immediately gave up alcohol and became obsessed with that word - eternity. Despite the fact that he was illiterate and could hardly write his own name legibly, for the next 35 years he inscribed the word ‘Eternity' on footpaths and doorsteps in and around Sydney. He always wrote in immaculate copperplate and used yellow chalk and it's estimated he did this half a million times. Along the way, he achieved world-wide fame as ‘Mr. Eternity', before his death in 1967 at the age of 83. Only one original still exists, inside the bell of the Sydney General Post Office clock tower, which was brought out of storage in the 1960's. It had been sealed up for 20 years and no-one knows how Arthur had been able to get to it. He inspired many artists (including Banksy) and writers, spawned an opera and even a film by Julien Temple, the video chronicler of the Sex Pistols and The Kinks. In 2000, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up with the word "Eternity" as part of the celebrations for the beginning of the year 2000, as well as being part of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, in celebration of a man who became eternal though the use of one word.

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