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


January 2005


Pope John Paul II attacks gay marriage by opposing any legislation that supports same-sex unions.

January 2005


President George Bush says there was no reason to press for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage because of the lack of support in the Senate.

January 2005


Catholic priest Terry Goodall is found guilty of having sex with a 29 year old male in 1982.

January 2005


Architect Phillip Johnson dies at the age of 98.

1 Jan 2005


Menage a Trois, the Sydney Pride NYE fund raising party makes a $15,000 loss for the organisation with only 1,900 attending.

26 Jan 2005


Adelaide gay activist Ian Purcell and AIDS fundraiser Stephen Hunt are honoured in the Australia Day awards.

February 2005

New York

The New York Health Department announces the death of a man with a multi-drug-resistant strain of HIV.

February 2005


Founder of the failed Satellite Group of companies Greg Fisher is gaoled after he is convicted on charges of misusing company funds.

February 2005


ACON’s western Sydney office is relocated to Surry Hills because of declining client numbers and rising costs.

February 2005

Nth Ireland

American and Canadian Anglican churches are asked to withdraw from a meeting of international Anglican primates over their support for gay rights.

4 Feb 2005


NSW Governor Marie Bashir, Courtney Act, Bob Downe and Judi Connelli join the launch of the 2005 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival in Hyde Park.

12 Feb 2005


High profile oral historian Rosemary Block volunteers to conduct an oral history workshop for the Pride History Group.

12 Feb 2005


The Australian Marriage Equality group is launched.

16 Feb 2005


Helix North the 14 year old northern Sydney gay and lesbian social and support group, is re-launched.

20 Feb 2005


The fifth Rainbow Umbrella Walk is held from Belmore Park to Victoria Park.

20 Feb 2005


50,000 attend the annual New Mardi Gras Fair Day at Victoria Park.

20 Feb 2005


ACON’s Mates campaign is launched at Fair Day.

25 Feb 2005


Sauna Sessions: Homo Rooting Music, a CD compilation by DJ Seymour Butz, is launched at Ken’s at Kensington.

26 Feb 2005


Retail Therapy, formerly Shop Yourself Stupid is pared back after the cancellation of its tie-in partner, the East Sydney Festival.

March 2005


Tanya Plibersek, the federal member for Sydney reads a children’s book about kids with same-sex parents to a class of year three students at Newtown Public School.

March 2005


Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge rules the deaths of Ross Warren in July 1989 and John Russell in November 1989 were not accidental and that the first police investigations into their disappearances were “grossly inadequate”.

March 2005


The NSW National Party leader Andrew Stoner calls for Koalas on Parade and The Rainbow Cubby House by Vicki Harding to be removed from NSW primary schools.

March 2005


Fred Nile tables a private members bill Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Homosexual Vilification Repeal) to scale back homosexual vilification laws.

March 2005


When Our Children Come Out by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, a guide to help family, friends and teachers understand the process of coming out , is published.

5 Mar 2005


450,000 people watch the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on its shortened route down Oxford and Flinders Streets. 19,000 revellers continued the celebrations at the Mardi Gras party at Fox Studios.

14 Mar 2005

San Francisco

Superior Court judge, Richard Kramer rules that California’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional; serves no legitimate purpose and should be overturned.

26 Mar 2005


A fundraiser for Slit magazine and Koori Radio, part of the Sheila Autonomista Festival is held at the Kirk in Cleveland Street.

April 2005


William Yang’s Objects for Meditation, his latest multi-media presentation based on souvenirs, premiers at the Opera House.

April 2005


Sex and Gender Education (SAGE) petitions the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board in response to the ADB allowing Mission Australia to refuse service to some transsexual and intersex women in June 2004.

April 2005


The 2004 Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey reveals 20% of respondents have used crystal meth compared 12% in 2002.

April 2005

Saudi Arabia

A court sentences more than 100 men to imprisonment and flogging for alleged “homosexual conduct” following the men’s arrest at a private party in March.

5 Apr 2005


Thomas Maxwell McCoskar and local man Dhirandra Nadan are gaoled for having consensual gay sex.

8 Apr 2005


A queer school formal organised by [email protected], is held at the Manly Youth Centre.

11 Apr 2005


Celebrity couple Rebecca Cartwright and Lleyton Hewitt are named patrons of the AIDS Trust of Australia.

11 Apr 2005


15 people demonstrate outside the Fiji Consulate General’s office against Fiji’s imprisonment of two men for consensual gay sex.

19 April 2005


Cardinal Josef Ratzinger is elected pope and takes the name Pope Benedict XVI. He is the architect of the Vatican’s war on homosexuality.

22 Apr 2005


ABC television show, Strictly Ballroom’s same sex semi-finalists, Alex Bryan and Adam Francis are subject to a “flood” of viewer complaints.

22 Apr 2005


2000 Olympic trampolining medal winner Ji Wallace reveals he is gay.

May 2005


Ankali, the first group which trained volunteers to support people living with HIV/AIDS, celebrates its 20th anniversary.

May 2005


HIV notifications in NSW drop by 14% compared to the 2002-2003 trend of rising notifications.

May 2005


The American Psychiatric Association votes to support same-sex marriage.

1 May 2005


A same sex marriage community forum at the Newtown Hotel reveals differences between the Greens and the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby’s strategies for achieving equal marriage rights.

12 May 2005


Jenni Millbank, former board member of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby argues against state based campaigns for marriage equality and for federal recognition.

14 May 2005


A Tribute to Ruby Reds re-unites former patrons at the Paddington RSL Club.

17 May 2005


The first International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) is held.

20 May 2005


Pink, Pinkboard’s 10 year anniversary party is held at Arq. The website started in 1986 after Larry Singer discovered Viatel, a primitive form of internet provided by Telecom.

23 May 2005


Lesbian self-defence activist, Penny Gulliver, gives tips to viewers on the television programme, Good Morning Australia.

25 May 2005


Graham Kennedy dies aged 71.

26 May 2005


The Hidden History of Homosexual Australia screens on SBS television.

June 2005


The NSW Education minister Carmel Tebbutt defends the Department of Education’s ban on educational material on homophobia for year 9 students after threats from the Daily Telegraph to run a story on the material.

June 2005


The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby condemn the federal government’s immigration policy when an English doctor’s same sex partner is ruled not eligible for a family visa.

June 2005


Openly gay Brian Greig retires from politics having served as a Democrats senator since 1999.

June 2005


Sydney’s gay men’s hockey team, Bentstix, beats its Dutch rivals in the Gold Medal match at the Utrecht Euro Games.

June 2005


Senator Guy Barnett calls for legislation to again be put to bar lesbians and single women from IVF.

1 June 2005


Carlotta’s Kings X show opens at the Big Top, Luna Park.

4 June 2005


The Pride History Group holds a community forum on pre-Mardi Gras era gay and lesbian venues at the Taxi Club

7 June 2005


A community forum of stakeholders, hear stories of financial losses from Oxford Street business caused by the Sydney City Council’s prolonged upgrade of the street.

10 June 2005


The first Bent Art lesbian and gay art exhibition is held in the Blue Mountains.

11 June 2005


More than 4,000 attend the last Big Queer Nation dance party, a fundraiser for ACON, at the Fox Studios.

13 June 2005


The Canterbury Bankstown District Gay and Lesbian Social Group holds a community BBQ with the author Vicki Harding and GLRL’s Julie McConnell.

18 June 2005


The sixth Rainbow Umbrella Walk for gay and lesbian rights meets at the Opera House and walks to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.

25 June 2005


Dirty Deal Ain’t Clean an exhibition of artworks by Clinton Nain opens at the Sherman Galleries.

26 June 2005


Greg Smith, 12 years the pastor of Sydney’s Metropolitan Community Church, delivers his final service.

29 June 2005


Marcus Bourget is elected New Mardi Gras chair and Michael Rolik treasurer at the first meeting of the NMG board.

30 June 2005


Religious extremist Shai Schlissel stabs three marchers at a gay pride parade.

July 2005


Out gay Olympian Ji Wallace is named an ambassador for the 2006 Chicago Gay Games.

July 2005


The Ugandan parliament makes it a criminal offence for a gay or lesbian couple to marry.

July 2005


Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock calls for an investigation into Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin, a film about the effects of paedophilia.

July 2005


My Boyfriend the Space Tyrant, a gay themed computer game by Luke Miller is previewed at the National Computer Conference.

3 July 2005


The Spanish government’s legalisation of same sex marriage comes into effect.

8 July 2005


Police arrest five protestors at a march following the national Queer Collaborations conference after a protestor used obscene language on a megaphone.

9 July 2005


Gay Anglicans cautiously welcome the election of progressive Brisbane archbishop Phillip Aspinall as the church’s new primate, beating off a challenge from conservative Sydney archbishop, Peter Jensen.

15 July 2005


Tennis star and patron of the AIDS Trust of Australia, Lleyton Hewitt, apologises for saying “who is this poofter” to his opponent Guillermo Coria.

19 July 2005


Human Rights Watch claims two teenage boys executed was for the crime of raping a 13 year old boy and not as previously reported of having consensual gay sex.

20 July 2005


The New Scientist magazine reports a French-led trial that shows a strong correlation between circumcision and a lower rate of sero-conversion.

22 July 2005


The Law Reform Commission recommends same sex parents in Victoria have the same legal recognition as heterosexual partners.

24 July 2005


The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils receives complaints from the Muslim community after visiting US imam Sheik Khalid Yasin tells Australian television homosexuality is punishable by death.

25 July 2005


A position for a specialist City of Sydney staff member to oversee liaison with the gay and lesbian community is endorsed by the City of Sydney council.

27 July 2005


The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby pull out of co-ordinating a National Day of Action for marriage equality.

August 2005


Businesses in the Mosman and North Sydney area sign on to the Safe Place Program. This is a joint initiative of the Gay Anti-Violence Project and Mosman and North Sydney Councils.

August 2005


John Brogden, the NSW Liberal leader, and a gay community supporter, resigns as Liberal leader.

August 2005


The City of Sydney installs 20 rainbow banners at Taylor Square to commemorate the area as a LGBT landmark.

2 Aug 2005


Deputy Premier and prominent gay and lesbian rights supporter, Andrew Refshauge announces his retirement.

3 Aug 2005


Labor Premier, Bob Carr resigns after more than ten years in the job.

9 Aug 2005


Liberal MP Mark Brindal who had consistently championed gay rights, withdraws his candidacy from the SA election after going public about a same-sex affair.

13 Aug 2005


1,000 pink hearts are planted in Victoria Park followed by a rally for same sex marriage at Taylor Square and a march to Hyde Park.

13 Aug 2005


The Australian Coalition for Equality is launched as a national lobby voice for the LGBT community.

13 Aug 2005


Janet Perkins is re-elected as President at the Dykes on Bikes AGM.

16 Aug 2005


Crystal Meth Anonymous holds its first meeting.

20 Aug 2005


A city library in Malmo adds a lesbian and other minority groups to its items for loan – a 45 minute conversation - in a bid to reduce prejudice.

22 Aug 2005


The 2005 Drag Industry Variety Awards are held.

26 Aug 2005


The High Court quashes the convictions of Thomas McCosker and Dhirandra Nadan.

28 Aug 2005


Harbour City Bears celebrate their 10th anniversary over two weekends.

Sept 2005


The Australian Media and Communications Authority clears John Laws of breaching broadcasting codes of practice after he made comments about TV star Carson Kressley in 2004.

Sept 2005


Brokeback Mountain a movie about two cowboys who fall in love is awarded the Golden Lion for the best film at the Venice Film Festival.

Sept 2005


The state government of Massachusetts votes down a proposal to outlaw same-sex marriage.

Sept 2005


Adam Mills replaces six year president of Canterbury Bankstown District Gay and Lesbian Social Club, Alex Day.

6 Sept 2005


California’s state parliament passes a bill to legalise same sex marriage. Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger vows to veto the bill.

8 Sept 2005


The Sequin Revolution, a documentary about the origins of the Sydney Mardi Gras screens at this year’s QueerDoc film festival.

10 Sept 2005


The first Homesexual Party is held at the Home night club.

24 Sept 2005


ACON’s Racial Harmony Working Group holds a public forum Diverse City: Tackling Racism in Our Community.

29 Sept 2005


Club Health 2005 a national conference discussing topics from hearing loss to crystal meth smoking opens.

October 2005


A Vatican-appointed investigation team will visit all Catholic seminaries for “evidence of homosexuality” in response to a child abuse scandal.

October 2005


A Herald-Sun newspaper investigation reveals church and charity group leaders privately urged the Prime Minister, John Howard to push for his government’s ban on gay marriage in 2004.

1 Oct 2005


The annual Sleaze Ball themed as Sinsuality, is held at Fox Studios. 6,500 tickets are sold – 3,000 fewer than 2004.

7 Oct 2005


The first meeting of Freedom 2B(e), a support and education group for people who have left Pentecostal and Charismatic churches is held.

11 Oct 2005


Labor’s Penny Sharpe, a lesbian mother-of-two takes up a seat in the NSW Upper House.

13 Oct 2005


Mardi Gras considers cutting its festival launch, charge a gold coin entry fee for Fair Day and selling name rights to the Festival, following the poor financial return from the Sleaze Ball.

27 Oct 2005


The NSW Anti-Homophobia Interagency which includes representatives from the Department of Education, the Attor5ney-General’s Department and gay groups meet to discuss current research, best practice and ways to establish inclusive school environments.

29 Oct 2005


Labor opposition leader, Kim Beazley addresses the Australian Christian Lobby and re-iterates Labor’s support for marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

29 Oct 2005


The Sydney Food and Wine Fair in Hyde Park raises $277,000 for the AIDS Trust of Australia.

Nov 2005


Three of Australia’s leading AIDS organisations – the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, the Australian Society for HIV Medicine and ACON place an ad in the gay press supporting the Australian Red Cross policy of not accepting blood donations from men who had sex with men in the last two years. They are responding to gay groups claiming this policy is discriminatory.

Nov 2005


Local residents, Randwick City Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and police mount a campaign against beat users at Little Conwong an unofficial nudist beach at La Perouse.

Nov 2005


New Mardi Gras signs a $1.5m sponsorship deal with Gaydar. The festival season will be called the “Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras presented in partnership with”.

Nov 2005


26 men are arrested at a “mass homosexual wedding” in an attempt to show the UAE does not tolerate open homosexuality.

Nov 2005

South Africa

The Constitutional Court rules that it is unconstitutional to deny gay couples the right to wed.

11 Nov 2005


Gay lobby groups urge the LGBT community to send submissions to the federal government to recognise same-sex couples for an impending superannuation law that will increase benefits upon retirement.

15 Nov 2005


Gay activists join the ACTU National day of Action to protest against the Federal Government’s workplace relations package WorkChoices.

22 Nov 2005


High Court judge, Michael Kirby is named the NSW Australian of the Year.

24 Nov 2005


Laurie Berg replaces Julie McConnell as female co-convenor of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.

25 Nov 2005


Sydney radio station 2DayFM promotes the same sex marriage of its newsreader, Geoff Field to his partner of 13 years, Jason Kerr.

27 Nov 2005


National gay lobby group, Australian Coalition for Equality (ACE) hosts a focus group to discuss directions for national law reform efforts.

27 Nov 2005


Marrickville Council’s gay and lesbian liaison committee, [email protected] hosts a community day out at Camperdown.

29 Nov 2005


The Vatican releases an official statement banning gay priests, stating homosexuality “presented a destabilising reality for people and society”.

30 Nov 2005


Greens Senator Kerry Nettle tables a 4,454 signature pro-gay marriage petition in conjunction with radio 2DayFM ‘s promotion of gay marriage.

Dec 2005


The Sydney section of the Australian AIDS memorial quilt will move to permanent storage at the Powerhouse Museum’s storage building at Castle Hill.

Dec 2005


The NSW District Court sentences a Sydney man Stanislas Kanengele-Yondjo to 12 years in prison for knowingly infecting two women with HIV.

Dec 2005


The Superannuation Contribution Splitting Bill which gives people the option of splitting their super contributions with their spouse in an accumulated fund does not cover same-sex couples.

Dec 2005


Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star by Tab Hunter and Eddie Muller is published.

1 Dec 2005


A candlelight AIDS memorial in Hyde Park draws 300 people.

5 Dec 2005


Gay and lesbians begin registering their new civil partnerships which now entitles them to the same social security, tax inheritance and pension rights as heterosexual married couples.

5 Dec 2005


Gay Anglican priests will be able to register their relationships but will be barred from consummating the relationship.

8 Dec 2005


J. Bear is crowned Mr Manacle with a performance of It’s Raining Men and We Are Champions.

19 Dec 2005


The US Queer as Folk series finale screens on SBS television.

Updated: 19/7/2015