If you nip into Central Melbourne for some Christmas shopping, stop off at the City Gallery that nestles into a corner of the Melbourne Town Hall on Swanston Street. ‘The Jesus Trolley’ exhibition has been on since 8 September but with my habitual tardiness, I’m only writing about it now- and it closes on 24 December, most appropriately.
I see from today’s paper there have been a number of ‘Jesus bikes’ left around Melbourne with evangelical slogans on them.
I thought instantly of the Jesus Trolley exhibition. The exhibition features Desmond Hynes who, for thirty years since 1983, pushed a decorated shopping trolley around the streets of central Melbourne and stood in his ‘Jesus is Lord’ windcheater, holding aloft a hand-painted sign proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection. It was a full-time job for this self-appointed street evangelist, who lived with his sister in a rented property in Hotham Street Elsternwick, immediately opposite Ripponlea which, until sold and demolished, was similarly festooned with posters and exhortations (see photo here). All his preaching paraphernalia was headed for the tip until a neighbour recognized it for the social history it is and salvaged some of it. And here it is in the exhibition- a little cluster of shopping trolleys- and posters, photos showing the ephemeral nature of his eternity-oriented quest.
There’s also a short 4 minute documentary about Desmond Hynes called ‘Doing’Time with Desmond Hynes’ filled by Russell McGilton in 1997 as part of the Race Around the World series. It’s also available here on YouTube:
But take advantage of seeing the exhibition while it’s still on. There’s a beaut little book that you can pick up, with an excellent essay by Chris McAuliffe about street preaching more generally in Melbourne and photos of objects from the exhibit.
On until 24 December 2016 City Gallery, Melbourne Town Hall.