A chronology of lesbian and gay communities, movements, and venues in Sydney









1960 - 1966























































Australian society in the late 1960s was hostile to homosexuals or, at least, its institutions were. The Law treated gay men as criminals who could be locked away for 14 years for the “abominable crime of buggery”, and the police were active in trying to prosecute them.

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Coming Out Into a Hostile World

Francesca (Chesca) Curtis's television appearance on The Bailey File, a Melbourne-based current affairs programme on commercial television TV's Channel 9, in May or June 1970, speaking about the aims of the Australian Lesbian Movement was arguably Australia's first "coming out" in the media.

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Australia's First National Coming Out

Homosexual/transgender social groups began forming in the early 1960s in Sydney. They offered membership of a discreet “camp” organisation. Their dances provided the perfect stage for Sydney’s new amateur drag scene to flourish and a place for men and women to meet up and find Miss or Mr Right – at least for the night. In the Leichhardt area, there was no shortage of public halls for these groups.

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Leichhardt/Dykehardt Exhibition

Male homosexual acts are no longer criminal in NSW – the law was amended in 1984, and ‘gay’ men can live quite open lives, with a range of venues where they can socialize in ways similar to their heterosexual counterparts. Also, the two worlds now softly collide, with gays and straights mixing together quite easily in many places in Sydney’s inner suburbs.

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And The Beats Go On...

The following people participated in the first Mardi Gras and/or the related events . While every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, the list could include errors and omissions. Some names are also likely to be the arrestees' aliases.

78ers Honour Roll





If not in Sydney  


Jan 2001


A new guide HIV Tests and Treatments is launched by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisation (AFAO) and the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON).

1 Jan 01


PRIDE’s Pagan Night is held at the old Showgrounds and attracts 8,000.

3 Jan 01


Police seize a book of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe. The Office of Film and Literature subsequently decides the book should be freely available.

11-12 Jan 01


The International Trade Union Confederation Lesbian and Gay Conference is held in Sydney.

Feb 2001


Former Satellite Group founders Greg Fisher and Jonathon Broster appear in the St James Local Court on criminal charges brought  by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Feb 2001


Steve Dow’s book of essays about gay life in Australia, Gay is published.

Feb 2001


Kelly Gardiner is appointed Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) CEO.

Feb 2001


The Australian Tourism Commission launches its Gay Australia Guide.

1 Feb 01


OutFM returns for one month’s transmission until 28 Feb.

1 Feb 01


The appointment of a former Pharmaceutical industry lobbyist to the Federal Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee by the Federal Health Minister, leads to the resignation of Martyn Goddard, a consumer representative.

9 Feb 01


23,000 celebrate the launch of the 2001 Mardi Gras season on the forecourt of the Opera House.

6 Feb 01


CAMP Inc’s founder members and the curator of the LGBTI history exhibition, Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know Michael Flynn, mark the 30th anniversary of the first public meeting of CAMP Inc at St John’s Church Hall in Birchgrove.

16 Feb 01


Artist Trevor Fry is advised by Mardi Gras Festival director, David Fenton, that his work Favourite Things was removed from the Mardi Gras Nude Salon exhibition.

17 Feb 01


Hey Hetero! an exhibition of posters parodying the predominate heterosexual imagery by Deborah Kelly and Tina Fiveash is launched through Avant Cards and at the Seymour Centre.

23 Feb01


Cleansing Songs, a programme of music made up of works by lesbian and gay composers is performed at Government House.

27 Feb 01


The Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial Project and South Sydney Council hold a dedication ceremony for the new Green Park monument.

March 2001


Queer City – Gay and Lesbian Politics in Sydney a collection of essays edited by Paul Van Reyk and Craig Johnston is launched.

March 2001


The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation records its most demanding month, with 467 clients requesting assistance.

1 March 01


Dr Marie Bashir, Governor Elect of NSW grants vice regal patronage to the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service (NSW).

3 March 01


The 24th annual Mardi Gras Parade is held. The lead float is titled Behind the Pink Picket Fence and is intended to send a strong political message about gay and lesbian parents and their children.

4 March 01


Lucille Balls, the multi orbed dress designed by Ron Muncaster forms part of the Eternity exhibition at the National Museum of Australia.

6 March 01


The latest issue of the GLBTQ weekly, G, is shrouded in controversy as the editor and staff cease working and there is a rumoured break between the publisher and the investor.

9 March 01


Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, an exhibition that covers 100 years of Lesbian, gay and transgender history in NSW opens in the Fountain Court of the NSW Parliament House.

18 March 01


The UK television series, Queer as Folk screens on TV Channels 53 and 62 at 10pm.

26 March 01


George Pell is appointed Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop.

27 March 01


Company B Belvoir commences a sold- out season of the Laramie Project, a new play about Matthew Shepard who was beaten and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998.

27 March 01


Feminist Eva Cox, addresses the first lesbian health forum, Stir It Up put on by ACON and the Lesbian Health Interagency Network.

29 March 01


A forum on gay male to male domestic violence is convened by LGBTQ community organisations and highlights a lack of resources for gay men.

31 March 01


The Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project is transferred to the responsibility of ACON.

April 2001


HomoLomo an exhibition of photos taken with old Lomo cameras, goes on display at the Stonewall Hotel.

1 April 01


In a world first, a new law granting same sex marriage comes into effect in the Netherlands.

10 April 01


The Flinders Hotel sells for $3.74m at auction.

19 April 2001


Fruits in Suits is re-launched by the Gay and Lesbian Business Association at the W Hotel in Woolloomooloo.

21 April 2001


The Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt is displayed at Hall No.1 at Darling Harbour.

23 April 2001


A resolution proposed by the Australian Lesbian Medical Association to end discrimination against lesbian doctors and patients is passed by the Medical Women’s International Association.

28 April 01


Inquisition, a dance party, kicks off Sydney’s Leather Pride Week.

30 April 2001


Sydney gay man Johnnie Cass appears in the new reality TV show Big Brother.

May 2001


A community consortium continues the operations of the Positive Living Centre, after the South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service “de-funds” it.

May 2001


David McHugh, the new owner of the former Westpac Bank site at the corner of Crown and Oxford Street plans to convert it into a hotel/bar/restaurant.

May 2001


Sally Abrahams is appointed Executive Officer of Twenty10

May 2001


A gay survey conducted by recruitment TMP Worldwide found that 39.9% suffered discrimination and 11.7% said they have a “pink glass ceiling” in their workplace.

1 May 2001


A design proposal by South Sydney Council for Taylor Square, featuring outdoor seating, palm trees and a mist fountain goes on display.

6 May 2001


The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) launches its Parenting Consultation Report in conjunction with a Rainbow Babies Picnic.

7 May 2001


Kitty Fischer, key mover to establish the Gay Holocaust Memorial Project in Green Park, dies.

10 May 2001


The Collective Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) holds a demonstration against the installation of the new Roman Catholic Archbishop, George Pell at St Marys Cathedral.

18 May 2001


David Beschi, artist and venue owner, holds an exhibition of his work at the Quay Gallery.

25 May 2001


Aspirant gay and lesbian community broadcasters, OutFM and FreeFM fail in their bid for permanent FM broadcasting licences.

June 2001


Tim Berry and John Patterson buy the gay and lesbian lifestyle website,

June 2001


Sydney 2002 Gay Games appoints new CEO Geoffrey Williams and elects two new co-chairs, Bev Lange and Peter Bailey.

8 June 2001


Greg Fischer, former Managing Director of gay property and publishing company, the Satellite Group is committed to stand trial.

9 June 2001


4,000 attend ACON’s annual fundraiser dance Hand in Hand, themed Lust in Space.

27 June 2001


John Marsden wins $525,000 in damages in the Supreme Court for pederasty allegations contained in Channel Seven’s Today Tonight programme.

July 2001


Stevie Clayton is appointed as the new CEO of ACON.

July 2001


Creditors vote to liquidate the leaseholder of the Flinders Hotel, after incurring losses of $5,000 per week.

July 2001


Monash University researchers are hoping that Leutinizing Hormone Releasing Hormone has the potential to rebuild the immune system by stimulating the thymus gland.

July 2001


ACON appoints a women’s health promotion officer.

1 July 2001


Revolution ’69 Dance Party, a fund raiser for the PRIDE Centre is held.

7 July 2001


John Marsden calls for a judicial inquiry into alleged collusion between the NSW Police Service and the Channel Seven Network in preparing a defamatory broadcast.

12 July 2001


19 year old gay man Angel, the creator of celebrates the first year of his first Australian gay and lesbian youth website that had become a world-wide hit.

13 July 2001


Theo Onisforou purchases the Albury Hotel. The ground floor will become shops and the bars moved upstairs.

17 July 2001


The 12th General Synod of the Anglican Church receives a report Faithfulness in Fellowship that considers biblical, theological and scientific data on homosexuality.

August 2001


Homophobia And Sexuality Discrimination In Sport, guidelines to address sexuality discrimination in sport, is released by the Federal Liberal Sports Minister, Jackie Kelly.

Aug 2001


Gordon Wheatley joins PRIDE as General Manager.

7 August 01


The GLRL calls on lesbian and gay couples to identify themselves in the national census.

25 Aug 01


Julie Regan is elected for a second term as President of  SGLMG.

29 Aug 01


Democrats Brian Greig moves an urgency motion in the Senate to “enact national laws against sexuality discrimination”. The motion is passed with support of Labor and the Greens.

Sept 2001


19 year old Mogenic web site creator Angel is appointed co-convenor of the youth support group Twenty10.

Sept 2001


GLRL launches a new campaign to alert the community to discriminatory provisions in Federal Superannuation legislation.

Sept 2001


South Sydney Council releases proposals to re-design Taylor Square.

Sept 2001


Edward Young, the partner of a deceased WWII veteran refused a widower’s pension by the Federal Department of Veteran Affairs, will have his case heard by the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations.

Sept 2001


A community consortium headed by ACON will run the Positive Living Centre in Darlinghurst.

11 Sept 01


People across Sydney wait for news from friends and colleagues after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

11 Sept 01

New York

It is speculated that Mark Bingham a 31 year old public relations executive and rugby league enthusiast helped down the fourth terrorist hijacked plane before it could reach its target.

20 Sept 01


Gay man, John Fowler, is elected for a second term as the Mayor of South Sydney.

25 Sept 01


William Yang’s performance Blood Links opens at the Sydney Opera House.

29 Sept 01


15,000 attend the SGLMG Sleaze Ball, themed Beastiality.

Oct 2001


The Family Court upholds the legality of a female to male trans-sexual’s marriage to a woman after a challenge by the Federal Attorney General.

8 Oct 2001


The Sixth International Congress of AIDS in Asia and the Pacific is held.

27 Oct 01


The Albury Hotel, owned in partnership by Leigh Jennings and Nanette Theakstone, closes after 22 years as a gay hotel.

Nov 2001


Don Baxter is appointed executive director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO).

Nov 2001


Father Austin Day, the rector of Christ Church St Laurence and among the first to provide pastoral care for people with HIV/AIDS dies.

9 Nov 01


Gerald Lawrence, activist with SGLMG, GLRL, PRIDE and ACON dies.

24 Nov 01


The annual AIDS Candlelight commemoration is held with the numbers down to less than 100.

26 Nov 01


The shareholding base of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Community Publishing, publishers of the Sydney Star Observer, is increased by 200 shares.

Dec 2001


Lachlan Warner, a gay Buddhist artist, wins the Blake Prize for Religious Art.

Dec 2001


Premier Bob Carr, agrees to waive fees to hold the SGLMG Parade, possibly saving the organisation from financial ruin.

Dec 2001


The upgrade of Taylor Square by South Sydney Council is shelved.

7 Dec 01


Richard Wherrett, theatre director, SGLMG party director and author dies.

19 Dec 01


Joy Melbourne, the gay and lesbian community radio station wins its battle to gain a full time broadcasting licence.

Updated: 10/07/14