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 2006


State MLA Clover Moore urges the attorney-general Bob Debus to investigate implementing a same sex register scheme for NSW.

January 2006


Tennis player Rennae Stubbs, comes out as a lesbian.

January 2006


British consulates begin offering civil partnerships to British citizens.

January 2006


Marcus O’Donnell steps down as editor of the Sydney Star Observer.

1 Jan 2006


Sydney Leather Pride faces an uncertain future, after its 1,200 ticket sales for the New Year’s Fantasy party falls well short of the 4,000 expected.

18 Jan 2006


Federal Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock says that there are some coalition members who ‘had no problems’ with same sex civil unions, but it is up to the states and territories to enact civil union schemes.

26 Jan 2006


Dr David Bradford who helped lead early AIDS efforts is appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.

February 2006


Thief River, a play about a relationship of two men over 50 years begins a season at the New Theatre.

February 2006


Pip Ditzell is appointed the gay, lesbian and transgender project co-ordinator for the City of Sydney.

February 2006


New Mardi Gras devotes a series of events for young people in the Generation Youth Festival.

February 2006


A Newspoll survey finds 52% of respondents agreed that the federal government should introduce a law to formally recognise same sex relationships in Australia.

February 2006


The Pink, the Black and the Beautiful, an exhibition of urban gay and lesbian Koori artists, is held at the Boomalli Gallery.

3 Feb 2006


New Mardi Gras charges a $10 entry fee to the Mardi Gras Festival launch at the Opera House.

6 Feb 2006


Beneath the Sequined Surface: an insight into Sydney Drag by Carol Langley is published.

11 Feb 2006


Diverse Verse poetry readings at the Feminist Bookshop is held again in conjunction with the Mardi Gras festival.

13 Feb 2006


The Ellen De Generes Show begins screening on Channel 10.

16 Feb 2006


Sydney film maker, Craig Boreham’s My Queer Career opens the Mardi Gras Film Festival.

17 Feb 2006


Transamerica screens at the Mardi Gras film festival.

17 Feb 2006


A Queer Space exhibition of photos and stories, bouncing castles, and a documentary about PFLAG Western Sydney are held at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith.

18 Feb 2006


The Pride History Group launches its new comprehensive history web site.

19 Feb 2006


The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby plant 10,000 pink paper hands in support for relationship recognition.

19 Feb 2006


The seventh Rainbow Umbrella Walk is held in an ongoing campaign for equal rights.

March 2006


The federal Liberal government announces plans to recognise same-sex partners of skilled migrants.

March 2006


Stacy Farrar is appointed editor of the Sydney Star Observer.

March 2006


Chief minister John Stanhope’s plans to introduce his Civil Union bill are halted by Prime Minister Howard and Attorney General Ruddock’s opposition to it, because it attempts to equate same-sex relationships to marriage.

March 2006


The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society’s survey Private Lives, reveals 35% of same sex couples are in an abusive relationship.

March 2006


What’s the Difference? an anti-homophobia education comic book funded by the NSW Government is distributed to Year 7 students.

4 Mar 2006


The 2006 Mardi Gras Parade is led by the Ship of Fools float, a comment about 10 years of gay life under the Howard Liberal government. 300,000 line the path of the parade and 15,800 attend the post parade party at Moore Park.

9 Mar 2006


50 Ways of Saying Fabulous the film version of Graeme Aitken’s 1995 novel, opens for a short season.

24 Mar 2006


The NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal gives John Christopher Sunol two weeks to publish an apology for on-line anti-gay messages. The decision confirms that internet publications constitute a public act – a key requirement for a vilification finding.

April 2006

Ipswich Qld

Transwoman Louise Brandish is sacked from Ian Boettcher Motors. Louise lays blame on the federal government’s scrapping of unfair dismissal protection for employees in small and medium sized businesses for her sacking.

April 2006


The Women and Girl’s Emergency Centre at 177 Albion Street begins case management and support for trans-women.

April 2006


New Mardi Gras announces a $91,000 cash profit on the 2006 season.

April 2006


Big Brother the reality TV show, adds David Graham a 26 year old gay Queensland farmer to its current season.

April 2006


Belgium same sex couples win the right to adopt children.

6 April 2006


NorthAIDS, the North Shore HIV/AIDS service provider, winds up after government funding cuts.

6 April 2006


St George and Sutherland gay youth support group GLYSSN celebrates its 10th anniversary.

10 April 2006


Members of the Canterbury-Bankstown District Gay and Lesbian Social Group vote for the group to be taken over by another gay group – Rebellion.

21 April 2006


The Dolphin Motorcycle Club’s annual Anzac Run from Sydney to Mudgee is held.

May 2006


ACON announces a new three year draft strategic plan naming improved mental health and less drug-related harm as goals, as it continues beyond HIV-specific work.

May 2006


Gina Potter wins Australia’s first national lesbian pool competition at the Imperial Hotel and qualifies for the Chicago Gay Games.

May 2006


The Daily Telegraph ‘exposes’ the Tillman Park Children’s Centre in Tempe for using anti-homophobia teaching materials and calls for its funding to be cut.

May 2006


Qld Liberal politician Warren Entsch writes to all federal MPs calling for the reform of all legislation that discriminates against gay men and lesbians.

May 2006


The Department of Immigration decides to grant a temporary business visa to an HIV positive applicant setting a precedent for other HIV-positive applicants.

May 2006


Qantas bows to pressure from former Family Court Chief Justice Alastair Nicholson and recognises an employee’s Canadian same-sex marriage.

May 2006


A conference on homophobia in schools titled That’s So Gay is held and attracts 200 people, mostly teachers. The NSW Anti-Homophobia Interagency recommends the Department of Education implement new strategies to tackle the problem.

2 May 2006


ACON is invited to join the NSW Farmers Association’s Rural Mental Health Network.

3 May 2006


The Prodigal Son, a gay themed documentary, screens on SBS TV.

10 May 2006


Blacktown Lesbian Information and Social Support holds regular fortnightly meetings during school terms.

11 May 2006


Members of the ACT parliament pass an amended bill, making the territory the first Australian jurisdiction to approve civil unions laws.

13 May 2006


Sydney Leather Pride Week begins and runs until the 21 May.

16 May 2006


SBS TV screens a same-sex partnerships, civil unions and marriage episode of Insight.

17 May 2006


The second annual International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) is held.

17 May 2006


Sydney lawyer and gay activist John Marsden dies.

22 May 2006


At an address at University College, Prime Minister Howard describes the campaign for gay marriage as “minority fundamentalism” and said it was not discrimination to deny same-sex couples the right to marry to students.

27 May 2006


Homophobic protestors set upon pro-gay activists who attempted to hold Moscow’s first gay pride march.

28 May 2006


Sydney DJ Kim Hunter aka Clem Ferris dies.

28 May 2006

New York

Sydney Convicts win a landmark victory when they win the Bingham Cup grand final.

June 2006


Gail Hewison and her sister Libby Silva of the Feminist Bookshop are awarded the Order of Australia in recognition of their support for women and emerging authors.

June 2006


A spokesperson for the federal attorney-general confirms government ministers had agreed to instruct their departments not to make submissions to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s national inquiry into gay law reform.

June 2006


The gay group GLYSSN, launches a report looking at the experiences of young queer people in the St George and Sutherland area and calls for more support for young gay men and lesbians from diverse cultural backgrounds.

June 2006


The first diagnoses of confirmed NSW cases of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) are notified to NSW Health.

3 June 2006


500 Romanian gay activists face a jeering violent crowd of protestors at the Bucharest Gay Parade.

10 June 2006


1,500 join the Warsaw Gay Pride Parade after Poland’s Constitutional Court ruled that the parade should be allowed. They brave crowds of skinhead hecklers throwing eggs and insults.

13 June 2006


The federal government advises the governor-general Michael Jeffery to veto the ACT’s civil union legislation.

19 June 2006


15 activists march along Oxford Street in protest against the federal government’s cancellation of the ACT civil unions legislation.

July 2006


The City of Sydney identifies gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender as a group with ‘priority needs’ and joins seven other target groups that are mandatory for all local government areas to have in their social plan.

July 2006


The Riga city council bans the official gay parade due to safety concerns.

3 – 7 July 2006


Queer Collaborations is held in Sydney.

6 July 2006

New York

The New York Court of Appeals rules that banning same-sex couples from marrying does not contravene the state’s constitution. Georgia’s Supreme Court had previously ruled that a state ban on gay marriage was legal.

13 July 2006


Tan Lines, a new Australian feature film, written, directed, and produced by Ed Aldridge about a young surfer coming to terms with his homosexuality premiers at a private screening in Sydney.

15 July 2006


Gay Games VII begin.

16 July 2006


Ken Buckley one of a group of Civil Libertarians who assisted in the formation and early days of Camp Inc dies.

18 July 2006


An attempt to amend the US constitution to ban gay marriage fails in a vote by the House of Representatives for the second time in two years.

21 July 2006


The Mortgage Industry Association of Australia expels gay financial company and Mardi Gras sponsor GAL home loans for misconduct.

29 July 2006


The Outgames in Montreal opens. 10,250 athletes attend.

29 July 2006


Volunteers are trained for the group, Lemonaids and Gaytoaids, an initiative which will help care for aged gays and lesbians living in the Blue Mountains.

August 2006


Organisers of the World Pride parade in Jerusalem, cancels the parade due to the lack of soldiers to protect marchers.

August 2006


The state branch of the National Party votes in support of same-sex civil unions.

August 2006


Transsexual murderer Maddison Hall sues the NSW women’s prison Mulawa for discrimination.

August 2006


Police and a health official will visit two beats on the northern beaches in a bid to educate users about safety and legal issues. Previously 15 men had been charged with offensive conduct.

August 2006


The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams in an effort to prevent a split in the church on homosexual rights, says he backs a resolution stating homosexual practice is incompatible with the Bible.

8 Aug 2006


The NSW GLRL co-convenor David Scannell urges gay and lesbian couples to tick the same-sex de facto household box in the upcoming national census.

12 Aug 2006


Lord Mayor Clover Moore, joins ACON president Adrian Lovney and volunteers from the Community Support Network at a tree planting ceremony in Green Park, to remember the hundreds of volunteers who have cared for Sydney people living with HIV/AIDS for over 21 years.

13 Aug 2006


1,500 protestors march along Oxford Street to Hyde Park as part of the National Day of Action. The day marks the second anniversary of the 2004 ban on same-sex marriage in federal parliament.

18 Aug 2006


High Court judge, Justice Michael Kirby speaks at the first IRIS Fund lecture.

18-20 Aug 2006


First held in 1981, the Dolphin Motorcycle Club holds its annual Gourmet Run at Tabrabucca Lodge, near Mudgee.

22 Aug 2006


Australian Marriage Equality co-convenor and his husband stage a sit in at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Sydney office to express their anger over the national census’s exclusion of marriage for same-sex couples.

25 Aug 2006


The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Support Group’s second Black Pearls party and cabaret event is held at the Flinders Hotel.

28 Aug 2006


800 attend the 16th annual DIVA awards at Star City Showroom.

Sept 2006


Martina Navratilova retires from professional tennis with a win in the mixed doubles competition of the US Open. Navratilova has won over 300 singles and doubles since turning professional in 1975.

Sept 2006


A study by the University of California finds that starting treatment within two weeks of HIV infection and stopping 12 weeks later presented ‘trends toward a long term benefit’.

Sept 2006


The Administrative Appeals Tribunal finds that when a same-sex couple separate, and their assets are divided, capital gains tax is payable. Under tax law a spouse must be defined as a male and female couple.

Sept 2006


The use of drugs crystal meth and GHB in the gay and lesbian party scene is the focus of state government’s new ‘club drug’ education campaign.

Sept 2006


ACON publishes and distributes Sticks and Stones, a magazine targeting young gay people in Western Sydney.

Sept 2006


Camp Nites, a booklet by the Pride History Group based on its oral history interviews, documents Sydney’s camp and gay and lesbian night spots in the 1960 and 1970s.

Sept 2006


The Beat, a new book by IJ Fenn about the bashings, robberies and murders at Sydney beats in the late 1980s and subject of a 2003 coronial inquiry, goes on sale.

Sept 2006


Queer Community Media Inc applies to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for the broadcasting frequency 100.5FM

Sept 2006


The NSW government announces that a clinic to treat crystal meth users will be opened at St Vincents Hospital.

1 Sept 2006


Rebellion holds its 7th anniversary dinner at the Erskineville Hotel.

16 Sept 2006


The third Rainbow Families Conference is held.

28 Sept 2006


The NSW GLRL launches a new information campaign The Pink Ceiling is Getting Lower, highlighting the loss of employee rights of GLBT people under the federal Liberal government’s new industrial relations laws.

29 Sept 2006


Salaam Namaste, a social group for GLBT people of Indian sub-continent origin meets.

30 Sept 2006


7,600 people, including more young people attend the 25th annual ‘Ghetto” themed Sleaze Ball.

October 2006


Liberal MP Warren Entsch reveals details of his private members bill to remove discrimination against same sex couples in federal legislation.

October 2006


The national HIV/AIDS 2006 Annual Surveillance Report reveals that in 2005 NSW records a seven percent increase on 2004 HIV diagnoses.

October 2006


Gay Life and Culture, a history of 2,000 years of same sex culture by Robert Aldrich, is published.

October 2006


High Court judge Michael Kirby calls for same-sex marriage equality at a national family law conference.

October 2006


Democrats senator and gay rights supporter, Natasha Stott-Despoya announces her retirement from politics in June 2008.

October 2006


Chris Master’s Alan Jones biography, Jonestown is released and is criticised by conservative media commentators that the biography was ‘homophobic’ for outing Jones.

9 Oct 2006


A new inquest into the 1990 murder of gay Sydney millionaire Ludwig Gertsch opens following a new investigation set up by police in 2003.

14 Oct 2006


The federal Young Nationals vote in support of civil unions for same sex couples at their annual conference. David Graham is elected Young Nationals federal membership officer.

21 Oct 2006


Sydney Pride Centre announces a loss of $35,000 for the 2004/2005 financial year at its delayed AGM.

Nov 2006


Rouse a fundraiser 2007 calendar for Hunter group Rainbow Visions, featuring profiles of local GLBT people goes on sale.

Nov 2006


The Gay Pride Week street parade is abandoned after fears of violence from religious extremists and is held instead in a stadium.

Nov 2006


Community Action Against Homophobia – Blue Mountains, successfully campaigns for the rejection of a US ex-gay conversion DVD donated by the Christian Democratic Party by the Penrith City Council Library.

Nov 2006


The Powerhouse Museum offers to give the AIDS quilt a permanent home – curating, preserving and storing it at Castle Hill.

Nov 2006


Jan Burnswoods, MLC, an active supporter of GLBT rights, announces her retirement at the next election in March 2007.

Nov 2006


Former Satellite boss, Greg Fisher is sentenced to seven years four months after he pleads guilty to drug importation offences.

Nov 2006


Gay and lesbian 2SERFM radio programme, Queernoise wins a national community radio award for its weekly play Gay Super Guy.

Nov 2006


GenerationQ Media, a new GLBT media company is established following the merger of websites queerplanet and MyQueerSpace.

11 Nov 2006


Holding the Man the theatrical adaption of Timothy Conigrave’s novel, opens at the Griffin Theatre to rave reviews.

12 Nov 2006


A new four part documentary The Age of AIDS begins on SBS.

13 Nov 2006

Sth Africa

The national assembly passes the Civil Union bill, making South Africa the fifth country to allow same sex marriage.

19 Nov 2006


Marrickville Council holds a gay- and lesbian-friendly family day – Kidz Day Out – in association with Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.

20 Nov 2006


The Transgender Day of Remembrance, commemorating the lives of murdered transgender people is held at Parliament House.

21 Nov 2006


The Emerging Researchers in Aging conference features a segment on the particular issues faced by gay men over 60.

22 Nov 2006


The Australian Association of Gerontology conference Diversity in Aging looks at issues including living with HIV/AIDS in aged care facilities, identity needs and fear of disclosing sexuality.

30 Nov 2006


A list of gay male beats attached to a story on the Sydney Morning Herald website is removed after ACON warns the paper this could lead to anti-gay attacks.

Dec 2006


Jonathan Stambolis joins the ACON board and long term members David Buchanan and Michael Phillips step down.

Dec 2006


The City of Sydney will use a State Library grant to set up a gay public library collection across Kings Cross, Newtown and Surry Hills.

1 Dec 2006


The annual candlelight memorial is held in Hyde Park North.

6 Dec 2006


The TV series The Closet Tales of Australian Fashion begins with an episode on Peter Morrissey.

7 Dec 2006


The Domestic Partners Bill passes the upper house. The Bill recognises same-sex couples as domestic partners in 90 pieces of legislation including inheritance and property laws.

10 Dec 2006


Lesbian surfing and social group Chicks on Sticks holds its regular surf day trip at Norah head/Soldiers Beach.

14 Dec 2006


The New Jersey State Legislature passes a Civil Unions bill.

Updated: 24/08/15