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


1973 venues

see: a. 1970 - 1975 venues


 1973 Events


If not in Sydney


27 January 1973


A zap held on Sydney City Circle train, when 3 men showed open affection toward each other.

February 1973


William and John are prosecuted in NSW and Victoria.

February 1973


A Catholic Group within CAMP forms to meet the needs of homosexual Catholics and establish a dialogue with Catholic authorities and clergy.

2 February 1973


Prime Minister Whitlam raises the question of discrimination against homosexuals with the Commonwealth Public Service Board.

12 February 1973


CAMP Inc holds its first meeting at 10 David Street, Forrest Lodge.

17 February 1973


The CAMP Women’s Association is formed.

March 1973


The NSW Labor Party Women’s Conference votes in favour of homosexual law reform.

13 March 1973


The homosexuality of Jeff Hayler made an issue in the Student President elections at Macquarie University in Sydney. Hayler eventually wins the election.

Easter 1973


Gay Christian vigils leaflet Anglican and Catholic cathedrals.

April 1973


Gays picket Dr Harry Bailey in Macquarie Street for using psychosurgery to cure homosexuality.

13 April 1973


Phone A Friend starts receiving calls from 6pm.

May 1973


Sydney Gay Liberation moves from 67 Glebe Point Road, to share 10 David Street, Forrest Lodge with CAMP.

5 May 1973


Gay Liberation Dance at Paddington Town Hall. 700 attend and some are harassed by sharpies in the street

8 May 1973


The Australian reports Congregational Reverend Mario Schoenmaker marrying 2 lesbians in CAMP WA’s clubrooms.

May Day 1973


Gay liberationists and feminists storm the speaker’s platform at the May Day Rally in the Domain to protest against the sexism of the labour movement.

23 May 1973


The Federal Social Security Minister, Bill Hayden directs that homosexuality not be a determinant in the assessment of Social Security rights. (This is the first anti-discrimination measure by any government.)

June 1973


Sydney Gay Liberation holds a dance at Paddington Town Hall.

June 1973


Sydney Gay Liberation and CAMP are forced to move from 10 David Street, Forrest Lodge. CWA meets at Women’s Liberation House. SGL meets at 14 Australia Street.

3 June 1973


A Zap is held at the Domain, with a leaflet handed out by Gay Liberationists to the people listening to the Sunday speakers.

4 June 1973


Gay Lib activist Jeremy Fisher is expelled from Menzies college at Macquarie University. As a result, the Builders Labourers’ Federation (BLF) bans construction at the University.

4 June 1973


First meeting of the CAMP Women’s Association Research Group in Susan Street, Leichhardt

5 June 1973


CAMP Poetry Group holds its first meeting.

6-8 July 1973

Sorrento Victoria

A Radicalesbian conference is held with 60 women attending.

10 July 1973


“The Glebe” campaigns against the use of 10 David Street as a gay centre in a residentially zoned residence.

27 July 1973


CAMP Ball is held at Balmain Town Hall

6 August 1973


Dr Neil McConaughy’s aversion therapy seminar at the University of NSW is disrupted by gay activists.

18 August 1973


The NSW Liberal Party State Council votes in favour of homosexual law reform.

18 August 1973


Sydney Gay Liberation moves into 33a Glebe Point Road.

26 August 1973


Marxism-Human Liberation Forum is held at Newcastle Trades Hall and is attended by Sydney Gay Liberation.

11-15 September 1973

Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide

Gay Pride Week is held throughout Australia.

15 September 1973


17 gay activists are arrested in the Gay Pride Week march from the Town Hall to Martin Place.

19 September 1973


Peter Duncan introduces a Bill to decriminalise homosexual acts in SA.

October 1973


Sydney Gay Liberation dissolves. It becomes the Gay Liberation Front.

October 1973


The Sydney Anglican Synod releases its Report on Homosexuality.

October 1973


The Duncan Bill passes the SA House of Assembly.

5 October 1973


Fire destroys well known gay night spot Capriccio’s.

15 October 1973


The Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry Federal Council declares homosexuality not an illness – the first such body in the world to do so.

18 October 1973


Federal Parliament votes 60-40 for the Gorton-Cass motion in favour of decriminalising homosexual acts. Subsequently the Commonwealth Public Service Board investigates changing its recruitment policy.

20 October 1973


A special meeting of Sydney Gay Liberation is held to discuss its future.

28 October 1973


Martin Smith announces he will run as a gay candidate for the State seat of Waverley.

November 1973


Gay evening of roller skating is held every Wednesday at the Olympia Skating Rink, Annandale.

2 November 1973


Sydney University Gay Liberation Dance is held at the Manning Building, University of Sydney.

5 November 1973


Public meeting to launch Martin Smith’s campaign for the electorate of Waverley.

9 November 1973


Acceptance, the gay Catholic group meets at St Vincents Church in Redfern

10 November 1973


Sydney Gay Liberation Front holds a dance at Balmain Town Hall.

17 November 1973


Gay Political Action Group’s Martin Smith fails to win Waverley in the State election.

21 November 1973


The Duncan Bill is defeated in the SA Legislative Council on the casting vote of the President.

28 November 1973


A new homosexual law reform Bill passes in the SA Parliament.

December 1973


CAMP takes over the premises at 33A Glebe Point Road vacated by Sydney Gay Liberation.

December 1973


The Metropolitan Community Church study group is formed.

1 December 1973


Gay Liberation Dance is held at Paddington Town Hall. Profits are used to pay for damage to the Hall.

5 December 1973


Gay Teachers’ Discussion Group is held at 376 Cleveland Street Surry Hills.

7-8 December 1973


Lesbian Liberation Conference is held at Minto.

9 December 1973


Demonstration against the oppression of young women in girls’ homes outside Parramatta Girls Home

14 December 1973


CAMP Christmas Dance is held at Balmain Town Hall

Updated: 14 July 2015 by John Witte using gay movement publications and various chronologies.