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

1979: Venues 

Venue Name






Nightclubs, Bars, Discos


2 Flinders Street, Taylor Square





Barrel Inn

12 Challis Ave, Potts Point

Sold in November 1979, under new mgt.

“Popular cruising bar and restaurant”


since 1973

Capriccios, Cap’s Theatre Restaurant, Capriccio’s International Vanities

163 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Tommy Brown

“International style night club, fantastic shows on two floors, good disco and cruising bars.”“Mixed crowds with spunky numbers”


July 1969

Carlisle House,


2 Kellet Street, Kings Cross


Disco, restaurant



Carousel Cabaret/Les Girls

2 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross




October 1979

Charlie Brown’s Place

90 Pitt Street, City




October 1979

Charlie’s Place

Shop 4, Earlwood Arcade, 363 Homer St, Earlwood

Rodney, Colin, Peter



Since 1978

Flo’s, Flo’s Palace

97 Oxford St, Darlinghurst

Roger Claude Teyssedre, Dawn O’Donnell, Alex, Abe Saffron

 “First Saturday Night Fever glass dance floor. Touch of desert camp.”

Gay men, gay Asian men,


Hideaway Bar

1st Floor, Waine Street, Sydney




October 1979

Ida’s Disco

161 Brougham Street, Kings Cross




October 1979


124 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst


“Serving dinner, 5pm – 12am daily”. Restaurant


March 1979 TBC


33 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Rod Stringer 1976 – 1979. Dawn O’Donnell, Roger Claude Teyssedre, Alex and Abe Saffron

“Sydney’s best gay disco with earthquake speaker system”. In 1975 “Soul 33” and previously a gambling Club 33  and before then a picture theatre.



Ruby Reds

273 Crown Street, Darlinghurst

Dawn O’Donnell, Roger Claude Teyssedre, Alex and Abe Saffron

Located above Saffron’s Oxford Street, Liquor Supply




242 William Street, Kings Cross

Tina, Graham and Abe Saffron



After September 1975

Traffic Light Wine Bar

242 Oxford Street, Paddington

Terry is your host

Enzos in 1977  becomes Traffic Light Wine Bar

Almost exclusively homosexual

1963 – 1980 (TBC)


85 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

David Ross, Nick Lorschy



Listed October 1979

Venus Room

6 Orwell Street, Kings Cross




October 1979

Yolanda’s Wine Bar

9 Pittwater Road, Manly




October 1979


Agincourt Hotel

871 Harris Street & Broadway




October 1979

Apollo Bar (Imperial Hotel)

252 Oxford Street, Paddington


Bar seven nights, restaurant entertainment. Mostly male crowd.


After 1979

Badlands Bar (Beresford Hotel)

354 Bourke Street, Surry Hills.

Barry Cecchini

Macho Levi Crowd


From November 1979

Carlton Rex

56 Castlereagh Street, City




October 1979

Chevron Hotel

81 Macleay Street, Potts Point




October 1979

Civic Hotel

1st Floor, 398 Pitt Street, Sydney




October 1979

Crest Hotel (Louise Room)

1st Floor, 111 Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross




October 1979

Cricketer’s Arms

106 Fitzroy Street, Surry Hills


First gay pub in 1973 (no ref). DJ and restaurant. “popular cruising bar. Spunky young crowd”


From 1973

Hilton Hotel (Marble Bar)

259 Pitt Street, Sydney




October 1979

Huntsman’s Bar (Royal George Hotel)

Cnr King & Sussex Streets, Sydney


“Good meeting place for that after work drink.”



Oriental Hotel (The Back Bar)

230 Crown Street, Darlinghurst




October 1979

Rex Hotel

Macleay Street, Kings Cross




October 1979

Royal George Hotel

16 King Street, Sydney




October 1979

Royal Oak Hotel

Bay Street, Double Bay




October 1979

Unicorn Hotel

106 Oxford Street, Paddington.


Mostly male crowd, bar and restaurant.


From October 1979

Woollahra Hotel (Bibi’s)

116 Queen Street, Woollahra




October 1979

Male Saunas/Sex on Premises


253 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Neil Taylor

“Hunky hot men.”


1973 – 1988

Bondi Jct Club Baths, Bondi Junction Steam,

Athletic Steam Baths

109 Oxford Street, Bondi Jct

Dawn O’Donnell



1967 – 1979

Bunkhouse Sauna

2nd Fl, 2 Kellet Street, Kings Cross

Abe Saffron

“Open 7 nights from 8pm. Friendly and gay.”



Club 80

80 William Street, East Sydney

Geoff Arnold

“Top macho guys”, “worth a visit after the discos”



Various locations

Kensington Karate Klub

KKK, Ken’s Karate Klub,

83 - 85 Anzac Pde, Kensington

Ken (Kandy) Johnson

1973 - 1984



From 1972

King Steam

Mezzanine Level, 127 King Street, Sydney

Roger Claude Teyssedre and Colin



1974 – 1998 various owners, locations

Roman Bath

250 Pitt St, Sydney

David Ross, Nicholas Lorschy

Formerly Sammy Lee’s Latin Quarter Nightclub.


1973 - 1988


121 Crown Street, East Sydney. (entry via Crown Lane)

Nick Lorschy. It is sold in October 1979.

Backroom fuck bar, leather, water sports. Entry by side staircase in a dark and narrow lane “Top western and levi bar, hot hunky men, spunky games rooms, pool tables and pinballs”.


From 1977 (TBC)

Updated: 3 April 2016 by John Witte using 1979 gay magazines and newspapers. Contact the Pride History Group to pass on corrections.


1979 Community and activist groups







AA (Sydney) Gay Group

46 Oxford Street, Sydney

Listed October 1979


46 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Listed December 1979

Acceptance (West)

Box 131, Blacktown

Listing October 1979

Acceptance Wollongong

Box, 256, Fairy Meadow

October 1979


Box 166, Wentworth Bldg

Listed October 1979

Armidale Gay Society

Box 581, Armidale

October 1979




Boomerang Social Club

Box 94, Broadway

Listed December 1979

Beth Simcha of Sydney

11/75 O’Brien Street, Bondi Beach

Listed October 1979





33a Glebe Pt Rd, Glebe

Listed December 1979

CAMP (Penrith)

Box 507, Penrith

Listed October 1979

Capricorn Social Club

Box 62, Croydon Park.

Listed October 1979

Central Coast Gay Society

Box 107, Umina

October 1979

Chameleons Club

35 Cambridge Street, Paddington

Listed October 1979

Christ’s Community Church

45 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo

Listed October 1979

Clover Women’s Club

Box 28, St Leonards

Listed October 1979

Club R65 Social Club

Box R65, Royal Exchange

Listed October 1979

Company B Social Club

Box 1041, Burwood

Listed October 1979

Cronulla Gay Group

Box 195, Cronulla

Listed October 1979




Family Social Club


Listed December 1979

Fitness Exchange

41 Albion Street, Paddington

Listed July 1979




Gabba Club

387 1489

Listed October 1979

Gay Body Builders Club

Box 164, Neutral Bay

Listed October 1979

Gay Film Group

Box 217, Darlinghurst

Listed October 1979

Gay Health Group

Box 272, Mascot

Listed October 1979

Gay History Group

Box A76, South Sydney

Listed October 1979

Gay Liberation Group UNE


October 1979

Gay Men’s Rap

Garibaldi Community Centre,

Listed July 1979

Gay Soccer Team

232 7927

Listed October 1979

Gay Solidarity Group

Box 380, Broadway

Listed October 1979

Gay Task Force

Box 6, Balmain

Listed October1979

Gay Teachers and Students

Box 3, Kingsgrove

Listed October 1979

Gay Theatre Company

Kings Cross

Listed December 1979

Gay Trade Unionists Group

PO Box 71, Newtown

Listed October 1979

Gay Union of Tertiary Staff

Sydney University

Listed October 1979

Gay Waves


Goes to air 1 November




Jamiest Society

Box K133, Haymarket

Listed October 1979




Lambda Radio CB Group

Box 101, Kings Cross

Listed December 1979

Leichhardt Women’s Centre

164 Flood Street, Leichhardt

Listed October 1979

Lesbian Feminist Action Front

Box 5074, Sydney

Listed October 1979

Liverpool Women’s Centre

273 George Street, Liverpool

Listed October 1979




Metropolitan Community Church

265 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Village Church, Paddington

Listed December 1979

Mirshvar Dagan Group

Box 271, Campsie

Listed October 1979




Newcastle Gay Liberation

76 Church Street, Newcastle

October 1979

Newcastle Gay Society

Box, 320 Hamilton

October 1979

Newcastle Women’s Group

Box 237, Mayfield

October 1979

Northside Alternative

Box 75, Dee Why

Listed October 1979




Polynesians Social Club

73 8506

Listed October 1979

Proposition 1

Box 84, Kings Cross

Listed October 1979




Renaissance Universal Society

Box 75, Erskineville

Listed October 1979




Scandal Social Club

637 5382

Listed October 1979

Seahorse Club

Box 341, Royal Exchange

Listed October 1979

South Pacific Motor Club

Box 823, Sydney

Listed October 1979

Sutherland Gay Group

Box 347, Sutherland

Listed October 1979

Sydney Gymnasium

357 5761

Listed October 1979

Sydney Southside Gay Group

Box 6, Carlton

Listed October 1979




Unicorn Social Club

241 3583

Listed October 1979

University of NSW Gay Society

Union Box 67, UNSW

Listed October 1979




Wagga Riverina Gay Society

Box 154, South Wagga

October 1979

Women’s Liberation House

62 Regent Street, Chippendale

Listed October 1979

Writers Group

Box 115, Edgecliff

Listed October 1979




Youth Social Club

33A Glebe Point Road, Glebe

Listed October 1979

Updated: 3 April 2016, by John Witte using a collection of 1979 gay magazines.


1979 community events


If not in Sydney


12 January 1979            


A 6am picket greets State Premier Wran on his arrival at Sydney Airport.

26 January 1979


Central Court is picketed. The charges against those arrested on the 27 August are dropped.

February 1979


The Fitness Exchange operates from 41 Albion Avenue, Paddington.

12-14 February 1979


The Anti-Discrimination Board conducts a phone-in on anti-homosexual discrimination.

March 1979


The Villagers, a gay social group for people living in western and south-western Sydney, forms.

11 May 1979


The NSW Summary Offences Act is repealed and replaced by the Offences in Public Places Act.

21 May 1979

San Francisco

Dan White is convicted of the killing of San Francisco Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.

22 May 1979


Two lesbians are acquitted of offensive behaviour. They were charged after kissing in Hyde Park.

June 1979


The Sydney Gay Theatre Group stages As Time Goes By at the Film Makers Co-op Theatre.

23-30 June 1979            


Gay Solidarity Week is held with a dance at Balmain Town Hall, films, plays, a fair, art exhibitions, a students’ rally and a Thursday night candlelight march to the State Parliament.

30 June 1979


A Saturday morning march ends with a rally in Hyde Park. 5000 take part in the second Gay Mardi Gras that night.

June 1979


A gay soccer team is formed.

June 1979


The Dolphins Motor Club is formed.

6 July 1979


The first issue of the Sydney Star is published by Michael Glynn.

11 July 1979


Gay Men’s Rap meets weekly at Garibaldi’s Community Centre.

26 July 1979


The Gay Solidarity Group (GSG) moves meetings to its own shop front building in King St, St Peters.

August 1979


Patchs changes ownership.

August 1979


Tropicana 85 celebrates its first birthday.

16 August 1979


Lex Watson makes a submission to the NSW Police Department Inquiry in which he calls for non-discrimination in recruitment and better liaison with community groups.

26  August  1979


The Reverend Don Johnson is inducted as the Sydney MCC Pastor.

30  August  1979


A national union meeting of homosexual unionists is held. It is sponsored by the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations.

30  August  1979


The monthly magazine Gay Community News (later Outrage) develops out of the Homosexual Conference newsletter.

30  August 1979


The first Sydney Mr Leather Contest grand final night is held at the Barrel Inn. Noel Smith is Mr Leather 1979.

31  August  – 2  September  1979


The fifth National Homosexual Conference is held.

27 September 1979


Ballroom opens at International Vanities with Michelle, Corrine, Stefanie, Colleen, Ayesha, Phillip and Terry.

October 1979


The Signal Bar is sold and is under new management.

5 October 1979


The Sydney Gay Theatre stages Haunted Host and Coffee at the Bondi Pavilion Theatre.

11  October  1979


The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board releases a report on homosexuals.

November 1979


The Barrel Inn is sold and is under new management.

November 1979


Gaywaves begins broadcasting on 2SER FM at the University of Technology, Sydney.

November 1979


The Beresford Hotel opens as a gay venue.

4  November  1979


The fifth annual Polympic Games is held with 1,500 men and women competing.

21  November  1979


The Gay National Summer Offensive for Rights is launched at Trades Hall.

13 December 1979


The NSW Council of Gay Groups (COGG) is officially refused a place for a float in the 1980 Festival of Sydney parade on the 28th January because they were not fitting for the families present.

29  December  1979


The outstanding charges (except those against Kate Rowe and Peter Murphy) from the 1978 Mardi Gras are dropped.

Updated: 19/9/2015



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