Help requested with research for Tony Carden’s Biography
Lesley Saddington is writing her son’s biography.
Tony was an activist in Sydney during the '80s & ' 90s and Lesley would like to know more about some of the ACTUP demonstrations/protests that he was involved in.
Tony Carden’s Obituary
Sydney Star Observer, Thursday September 21, 1995
I became friends with activist, performer and icon Tony Carden when he was six years old. Sporting a perfect set of dark eyebrows, he was a born actor who would astonish his classmates both on and off stage. As the pantomime goblin, he would terrify small children with a theatrical sense that would later be utilised to leave government bureaucrats quaking in their boots.
After taking drama classes at the Independent theatre, and going on to win awards from the State Council for the Arts for leading musical roles, Tony set out for the USA and settled in New York for six years. He attended the prestigious Lee Strasberg acting school and starred in off-Broadway productions and Shakespeare in the Park.
When his dose friend Andrew Morson became ill in early '86, Tony gave up his cherished, approaching chance at US citizenship and returned to Australia to care for his dying friend.
Tony's first HIV related illness galvanised him into action. He joined ACT UP, and went on to spearhead the drive for the upgrading and expansion of St Vincent's Ward 17, along with ACT UP and Clover Moore. It was a long, eventually victorious battle that he continued to fight even after ACT UP's dissolution.
Tony was a master of upfront media manipulation, where his quick wit and theatricality often came to the fore. He was "Somebody's Uncle" in the national Anti-Discrimination TV campaign, his ACT UP T-shirt clearly visible. Press photos appeared of Tony lying on a hospital trolley in St Vincent's casualty, unable to get a bed.
But just as much time was spent on less visible causes. The Anatomical Pathology department at St Vincents refused to perform autopsies on people who had died of HIV/AIDS, and Tony single-handedly forced a change of this rule. He also did important lobbying work on the Anti-Vilification campaign.
Last year he contributed a painting called 'Warrior Blood' to the exhibition Art in the Age Of AIDS. Made up of blood swatches taken from the full spectrum of AIDS activists, health workers, PLWHAs and others, it was named by curator Tedd Gott as the most remarked upon work in the exhibition.
Tony was always obsessed with his current issue, whether it be spray painting the Campaign offices after the publication of a racist letter, or seizing the stage at World AIDS Day to protest at the exclusion of
PLWHA speakers. And if a Bette Davis line could be welded to the message, all the better. He was the type of person the right wing call a ratbag. I call him a hero.
A community history initiative:
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA) has launched an appeal for material for a web based history of SGBLA.
The call out is for members and former members to record their memories of the Association’s activities and achievements and donate press clippings, videos, photos and archives.
Mark’s contact details are
Postal: PO Box 394 Darlinghurst NSW 1300
History of the SGLBA
In late 1980, the late Michael Glynn, the founder and owner of the Sydney Star newspaper (which he had started the year before) had a brain child, “to establish an association of business people to promote the interests of gay business”.
It was his challenge to get people interested and bring the subterranean gay community to the surface and form an out and proud vibrant gay business community.
Pride History Group and SGLBA member, Ian McLean presented this paper at a conference in 2015 and contains a great deal of information which may spark your memory.
Ian McLean is a retired business man and was the founding director of Sound Affair. He is well known in Sydney’s gay and lesbian community with a long history as a DJ at community dances. This address was given on the 30th November 2015 at the Pride in Diversity Conference.
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Monday November 21, 2016 - 6.30pm
2016 General Meetings - December19 (TBC)
Meetings are held every third Monday, each month. Members and visitors are invited to our meetings at St Helens Community Centre, 184 Glebe Point Road, Glebe (yellow meeting rooms next to Benledi)