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Honouring Pro

Wednesday, 18th September, 2019

From left: Annette Northey, Julie and John Hart. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson From left: Annette Northey, Julie and John Hart. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

Pro Hart has been further immortalised in Broken Hill with Airport Road officially being renamed to honour the late artist.

It will now be known as Pro Hart Way.  

The name was changed by the NSW Government’s Geographical Names Board after an application was lodged by local Annette Northey and City Council’s Asset Naming Committee, chaired by Councillor Christine Adams. 

A Pro Hart Way street sign was presented by Mayor Darriea Turley to Pro’s children, John and Julie Hart, at the airport yesterday before being installed on the newly-named road. 

“This is a great gesture to recognise Pro and also his family who have given so much to the city’s arts and cultural scene,” Mayor Turley said.

“Pro’s status as a local legend was never in doubt, but this really reaffirms the importance of his legacy to the Broken Hill community.

“Renaming a street is quite an involved and lengthy process, and I want to commend Annette and the Asset Naming Committee and all the locals who were supportive of the change.

“Pro put Broken Hill on the map... The new name of Pro Hart Way is so fitting because it’s the way he did things, he wasn’t just an artist of Broken Hill, he was an artist of the world,” said the Mayor. 

Julie Hart said it was an honour to have the road named after their father.

“It really is. Dad did do a lot for the town and I think it’s just wonderful,” she said. 

“And all the community were for it as well, which is really good, so it’s an honour and mum (Raylee) is so excited.”

Julie said the name change would be a good for Broken Hill. 

“A lot of people come here because of dad, because they want to come up and see the Pro Hart gallery and everything and I think it’s great, and especially because people land here and they’ve got paintings here and then now going out through Pro Hart Way....”

Councillor Maureen Clark said it was about time Pro was further recognised for all he had accomplished for the city.

“Pro has been passed for 12 or 13 years and I think it’s more than high time that something has been done to acknowledge just what he’s done for Broken Hill, because he’s been a marvellous artist but he’s also been a man of the people,” said Clr Clark.

“My favourite view of Pro has been a man in a singlet with a paintbrush. He really was an unassuming man, somebody who could talk to anybody and I think that’s the way Broken Hill remembers him and I think Broken Hill loves him for that because he’s not ever been so conscious of his fame that he would not acknowledge people,” she said.

“He helped people too, he was a benevolent man and his art goes on in our gallery in Broken Hill and I think Julie (Hart) is quite right - people have heard the name Pro Hart and they’ve come here to see his legacy in Broken Hill and I’m just so happy we’ve been able to contribute to that legacy.

“A big thank you to Annette Northey as a community member who did a lot of work putting this forward. It was her idea and that’s what we love, we love the community to come forward with ideas.” 

Annette Northey explained how she came to initiate the renaming of the road.

“I was at Raylee’s one day and she said ‘look what arrived in the mail today’ and it was a letter from the Belconnen Council in Canberra to say they’d named a road after Pro Hart, and she was just beaming with pride. It was a surprise to her, she didn’t know it was happening,” Ms Northey said.

“So that got me thinking, if there’s one already named after him, I did a Google search and found out there are four roads in Australia named after Pro Hart so I thought it’s a little bit embarrassing that there wasn’t one here. 

“I think this is what Broken Hill wants, it just shows that they are proud of him and I think it’s great because it’ll keep his memory alive and it’s an honour for his family.”

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