The Doris May Graham Memorial commemorates Doris May Graham (1912-2004), a Kaurna Elder, for her work towards reconciliation. The Memorial was installed in Elder Park, Adelaide in 2006 by South Australian artist and designer, Annabelle Collett.
The monument is positioned at ground level and due to outdoor exposure over time, the original materials of construction had deteriorated. Water had found its way into the Memorial through cracks in the grout and corrosion of the metal armature had occurred.
The erosion had caused tiles to detach which allowed more water into the monument, further exacerbating the overall corrosion. The edging tiles were damaged, and the brass plaques were scratched and pitted with corrosion. The original solar lights surrounding the Memorial had also deteriorated.
In response to a request from the City of Adelaide, to increase the longevity of the Memorial, Artlab proposed a major interventive treatment and commenced work in 2022. The project begun by the removal and transportation of the headstone portion from Elder Park to Artlab. A new armature was built adopting materials with optimum longevity. The old tiles were removed from the original monument, cleaned and adhered to the new structure. The missing red tiles edging the memorial were replaced by a custom-made tile, glazed to match the original tiles.
Back at Elder Park, the older solar lights were upgraded to hard wired LED alternatives and the Memorial’s site was raised, elevating it slightly above the surrounding turf. A Corten ring, with the addition of quartz sand, was built around the sculptural elements to reduce the risk of damage from mowing, and to improve the presence of the Memorial in the landscape by the River Torrens.
City of Adelaide
Doris May Graham Memorial
Elder Park, Adelaide, 2006
Before treatment showing missing red tiles and lose base tiles around the base plate of the headstone and the plaque.
Before treatment showing a significant number of tiles had been detached. A member of the public had fortunately salvaged some of missing the tiles and in a goodwill gesture, returned them to Artlab.
The grey tiles on the base were first removed and then numbered, and a tile map was drawn.
Fiona Hurel and Kenny Monger, Artlab's Objects Conservators removing the headstone portion of the Memorial at Elder Park, Adelaide.
Kenny detaching the yellow tiles from the headstone.
Tiles were cleaned to remove old grout and tile adhesive.
A new stainless-steel armature was constructed and prepared for tiling.
The yellow tiles were installed on the new armature following the mapped templates.
Installation of new plaques, as the originals did not have enough material to allow refurbishment.
Re-tiling the base on site at Elder Park.
After treatment at Artlab, the Memorial was installed back in Elder Park with upgraded lights and new landscaping.
Doris May Graham Memorial, Elder Park, Adelaide after treatment at Artlab Australia.