Joy Cummings ~ Pride of Place

Filed under Cityscape, Heritage & Historical, News ~ by Press on  30 Aug 2019

A bronze statue in homage to Australia’s first female Lord Mayor will stand facing Civic Theatre, in front of the former Civic railway station.

The late Joy Cummings OAM is one of the few women in NSW to be immortalised in bronze, and the first person in Newcastle to be bestowed the honour.

Sculptor Margot Stephens at work on the statue of Joy Cummings

The statue accompanies sparse monuments to people in Newcastle, others being James Fletcher in Fletcher Park, East Newcastle, and various unknown soldiers at war memorials in the district.

Mudgee sculptor Margot Stephens was selected by the City of Newcastle following a call to the artistic community to design a statue of the former Lord Mayor.

Speaking on behalf of the family, daughter Margaret Badger, said if Joy were alive today she’d be proud of the City that Newcastle has become.

I think she’ll enjoy looking over what’s happening throughout the City,” Margaret said.

This statue captures everything about her, her smile, the determined line between her brows, her outward reaching hand and the other hand close to her heart. It’s very symbolic of all that she was, an outward looking, proud, caring person.

We’ll always be proud of mum’s achievements. It’s easy to forget today that Newcastle was a heavy industry town, a BHP town. We had the state dockyard and abattoirs, we were quite an industrious place, but mum still had a passion for greening projects and parks.

She was also very big on heritage, liked the concept of light rail, and would be very supportive of any activity that brought people to live and work in the City.”

She also said Joy would have been proud to be looking over to the Civic Theatre, which she helped save for live performances.

Margot Stephens said she was honoured to be selected to create the sculpture.

Being selected to create the final piece has been an incredible privilege,” she said.

To work on the portrait of such an intelligent, courageous and determined woman has been inspirational.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the statue was a fitting piece of public art for Newcastle’s civic heart.

I’m proud to announce that City of Newcastle will immortalise the progressive and transformational leader Joy Cummings OAM through the city’s first true-to-scale, bronze statue,” the Lord Mayor said.

Joy was a trailblazer for women in leadership and inspired Novocastrians through her community spirit and love for our great city and our people.

It’s fitting that Joy’s pioneering legacy will be able to be showcased in such an amazing and enduring way.”

The tribute to Joy Cummings will be delivered to the forecourt of the new ‘Museum Place’ by the end of the year.

Joy served as Lord Mayor between 1974 and 1984 and was aged 79 when she died in July 2003.

Former Civic railway station and Civic Lane, intended site of the sculpture and a new Museum Place

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