Street preaching history explored at City Gallery

CoM Desmond Hynes The Jesus TrolleyA treasure trove of creative works by one of Melbourne’s most notorious street preachers which go way beyond a soapbox and bible is the focus of a current City Gallery exhibition.

The Jesus Trolley exhibition takes its title from the colourful shopping trolleys adorned with religious messaging that evangelist Desmond Hynes pushed around the city’s streets for more than 30 years before his recent retirement.

Curator Joanna Bosse explored and worked with the City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection to curate the exhibition which includes hand-painted shopping trolleys, signs and banners from more than three decades of proselytising on Melbourne streets.

“Des Hynes is Melbourne’s version of Sydney’s Arthur Stace, of Eternity fame. Hynes’ creative output, of which very little remains, has an appeal that transcends the religious content of its god-fearing message and the fascination or distrust one may have for its maker,” Joanna said.

“His unique typographic artworks possess an urgent humanity and reflect an unrefined yet savvy aesthetic that appeals to contemporary art enthusiasts. Through Des’s creativity, we see his personal desire to communicate with maximum impact, using found materials to create a compelling visual language.”

The exhibition also includes a collection of photos of contemporary photographs that record Des in his heyday, traversing Melbourne’s CBD, its suburbs and around the country wheeling his shopping trolley laden with signs and slogans promoting his faith.

Arts and Culture portfolio chair Councillor Rohan Leppert said the exhibition offered a fascinating look into the life and creative works of a well-known Melburnian who had unknowingly created outsider art to spread his message. “Many generations will remember Desmond and his eye-catching trolleys bearing religious messages which were a fixture on Melbourne’s streets for more than three decades,” said Councillor Leppert.

“Street preachers have been a feature of Melbourne for more than 150 years. This City Gallery exhibition offers an insight into how Desmond uniquely combined art and advertising to promote his messages. It is also a reminder that our city is a place where people are free to air their views on any topic that they feel passionate about whether it’s religion, politics or human rights.”

The Jesus Trolley: 30 years of Desmond Hynes pushing art and Jesus on the streets of Melbourne
City Gallery – Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston Street, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 24 December 2016
Free admission

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Three trolleys. Jesus trolleys c. 2005-2010 enamel and acrylic paint on shopping trolley, acrylic paint on fabric, texta on plastic 93 x 37 x 60 cm (each) – courtesy Desmond Hynes (supplied)