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





Jan 95


The Lesbian Space Project’s (LSP) new Committee affirms its intentions to buy a building.

13 Jan 95


The body of bushranger Captain Moonlight (Andrew George Scott) is exhumed from Rookwood Cemetery and re-buried near where the body of accomplice James Nesbitt was placed in accordance with the bushranger’s last wish.

18-19 Jan 95


Roman Catholic gay and lesbian group, Acceptance, refuses to celebrate Pope John Paul II’s visit to Sydney because of his anti-homosexual statements.

Feb 95


The NSW Education Minister releases an anti-discrimination policy for schools which addresses lesbian and gay and HIV status harassment and vilification.

Feb 95


The experimental anti-viral drug 3TC, for people with a low CD-4 cell count, is made available under the Special Access Scheme.

Feb 95


An AGB McNair survey of attitudes of people in Sydney show that 58% thought it was “right” to have a homosexual relationship, 31% thought it was wrong and 11% were undecided.

Feb 95


The Office of Film and Literature Classification bans In a Glass Cage an entry in the 1995 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) Film Festival.

Feb 95


Redfern Legal Centre publishes the 5th edition of the NSW Law Handbook with a chapter on lesbian and gay relationships.

Feb 95


Rupert Everett comes out in the February issue of attitude.

Feb 95


The first sexual health information booklet for lesbians is produced by the Women and AIDS Project at ACON.

Feb 95


Tennis Sydney reverses its ban on trany Linda Ferner and allows her to compete at the Mardi Gras Sports Festival.

Feb 95


A gay man is awarded compensation from a doctor who denied him treatment because he refused to undergo a HIV test in 1991.

Feb 95


A 17 year old former High School student is Sydney’s western suburbs brings a claim of homophobia against his school to the Anti-Discrimination Board.

3 Feb 95


A crowd of more than 5,000 gather on the forecourt of the Museum of Contemporary Art to launch the 1995 SGLMG Festival.

3 Feb 95


Solicitor John Marsden welcomes Colin John Fisk’s retraction of a statement he made to police that he was a paedophile.

8 Feb 95


The first edition of blue with photos of Ian Roberts, Manly Rugby League footballer goes on sale.

12 Feb 95


SGLMG Fair Day is held at Jubilee Park, Glebe.

14 Feb 95


Perverts Against Sexual Hypocrisy: Out Now’s (PASHON) “kiss in” at Taylor Square aims to draw attention to positive sexuality, the need for legal recognition for gay and lesbian relationships and an equal age of consent for everyone.

20 Feb 95


St Vincent’s Hospital opens its new AIDS unit

25 Feb 95


The third annual Bobby Goldsmith Foundation Shop Yourself Stupid event is extended to King Street Newtown.

March 95


The School Watch Report – A Study into Anti-Lesbian and Anti-Gay Harassment and Violence is launched at Randwick Boy’s High School by the NSW Minister of Education

March 95


8 members of the Australians Defences Forces have had their applications for recognition of their de facto lesbian and gay relationships refused, despite the ban on homosexuals being lifted in 1993.

March 95


The Advertising Standards Council investigates complaints against a community advertisement for the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service which features same sex couples kissing

2 March 95


Gay and Lesbian Teachers and Students splits as two Executive Committees seek to take control of the Association.

4 March 95


Rains keep crowds to 150,000 for the 18th SGLMG Parade, but 4,000 with 140 entries march to the Showgrounds where 20,000 party was described as the best one ever.

5 March 95


The ABC telecasts the coverage of the SGLMG parade on Sunday. It includes personalities, Julian Clary, Elle McFeast and Julie McCrossin.

27 March 95


Gay and Lesbian Assault Survivors create a forum to share information and support.

April 95


Team Sydney announces plans to send 200 participants to the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam

April 95


An agreement between the NSW Government, the NSW Labor Council and the Employers’ Federation of NSW ) that gay and lesbian couples will be included as “families” for the purposes of Family Leave, is registered at the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSW IRC).

April 95


Penrith’s lesbian owned nightclub, Nautilus collapses

April 95


The Gay and Lesbian Electoral Lobby forms to provide electoral action on gay and lesbian community issues.

1 April 95


Independent MP Clover Moore is returned to office, defeating ALP candidate, Susan Harben in the NSW State Elections

6 April 95


Bruce Pollack, director and a founder of the AIDS Trust of Australia fundraising arm, steps down after 7 years.

8 April 95


The Gay and Lesbian Road Show begins a tour of rural NSW to resource local organisations and hold public forums.

28 April 95


A new information kit to help prevent discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C, is launched by the NSW Department of Community Services.

May 95


Dennis Watkins is appointed SGLMG Festival Director.

May 95


Greg Brown is denied spousal benefits from his late partner’s, Commonwealth Superannuation Fund.

May 95


Darlinghurst Patrol folds.

May 95


Telstra launches a series of advertisements aimed specifically at the gay and lesbian community – “So glad you’re there”.

May 95


BGF Secretary, Ian Malloy announces a $188,384 operating loss for 1994.

6 May 95


The Queer Youth Cultural Coalition organises a one day literary workshop for young gays and lesbians interested in writing plays, poetry, songs and short stories.

10 May 95


Lezbiz (Lesbians in Business) holds its inaugural breakfast for 25 Sydney businesswomen

12 May 95


The NSW IRC extends paid leave to employees to care for their same sex partners.

14 May 95


15,000 gather for the 12 th Annual International Candlelight AIDS Memorial procession from Darlinghurst to the Domain.

18 May 95


Federal Justice Minister, Duncan Kerr announces an inquiry into discrimination against lesbians and gay men to be held under the auspices of the Human Rights and Discrimination Law Centre.

22 May 95


Squishy -   an exhibition of works of the UNSW College of Fine Arts inaugural Lesbian and Gay Theory Class is held at the ARTHAUS Gallery in Newtown.

27 May 95


Clover Moore MP convenes her first gay and lesbian forum to consult with the gay and lesbian community

June 95


Lesbian Line is given notice to quit the Everywoman’s Health Centre in Leichhardt in July after it is announced that the Centre would be sold.

June 95

Gold Coast

The Governor General, Bill Hayden calls for lesbian and gay adoption rights, the recognition of homosexual relationships and the legalisation of active euthanasia in a speech to the Australasian College of Physicians.

June 95


Tony Keen steps down from the Presidency of AFAO and is succeeded by Bill O’Loughlin.

June 95


Westpac agrees to extend family leave to employees who are in a de facto relationship with a person of the same sex.

June 95


An Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research forum Less than the Sum of Us: Representations of Homosexuality on the Australian Screen is held at the Pitt Centre Cinema

June 95


The Anti-Violence Project (AVP) launches a training project aimed at reducing the level and impact of violence against lesbians.

June 1995


The Australian Council for Lesbian and Gay Rights (ACLGR) meets in Canberra and pursues a range of issues with federal parliamentarians.

7 June 95


The NSW Attorney-General announces that his Criminal Law Review Division will conduct a formal examination of the so-called ‘homosexual panic defence’.

9 June 95


Ozbears winds up, five years after it was founded,.

19 June 95


South Sydney Council’s Local Environment Plan, which aims to reinforce Oxford Street’s gay and lesbian identity, is presented to the Council’s gay and lesbian community consultation committee.

25 June 95


The PRIDE Sydney Lesbian and Gay Community Centre at 26 Hutchinson Street, Surry Hills is opened by Federal MP Peter Baldwin and the State MP Clover Moore with an afternoon of celebration

30 June 95


Out and Out, the national gay and lesbian radio program folds due to lack of funding.

July 95


The NSW Government signs over 75% of the Royal Agricultural Showground to Fox Studios.

3 July 95


NSW Premier Bob Carr announces that his government is committed only to specific homosexual reforms – clarifying property transfers during inheritance and hospital access when there is a same sex partner dying in hospital.

3 July 95


The Federal Department of Immigration introduces changes to its “Interdependency” visa category which grants lesbians and gay men applying for off shore migration, the same rights as heterosexual de facto spouses.

7 July 95


Federal Defence Minister Robert Ray objects to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) ruling that the army had unlawfully discriminated against a HIV positive soldier.

8 July 95


Bev Lange is elected President of SGLMG.

10-14 July 95


Queer Collaborations draws 200 students from across Australia for a week of workshops, plenaries and social activities.

15 July 95


SGLMG announces a $167,000 loss and staff cuts and lower production budgets for Sleaze and Mardi Gras parties.

20 July 95


The Equal Opportunity Tribunal rules that Newcastle couple, Andrew Hope and Bill Brown and their son are entitled to family cover from their health insurer, NIB Health Fund.

25 July 95


Dykes on Bikes Inc votes in favour of having transgender members.

30 July 95


The Gay and Lesbian Business Association (GLBA) holds its first Conference Business in the gay Nineties.

Aug 95


Sydney’s gay saunas and backrooms announce they will sign a voluntary code of conduct to set minimum safe sex, hygiene, safety and staff awareness standards.

Aug 95


Bronte Morris is appointed Executive Director of the Pride Centre.

2 Aug 95


As long as I’ve got my doona – a report by 2010 on youth homelessness is co-launched by the NSW Community Service Minister.

6 Aug 95


Enola Gay Group participates in a march to commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and lesbian activist Zohl de Ishtar later joins a protest ship bound for Muroroa, the French nuclear testing site.

8 Aug 95


NSW employers are obliged by law to eliminate discriminatory provisions in partner benefits in all awards and agreements.

12 Aug 95


Positive Relief organises a forum to address poverty of people living with HIV/AIDS.

16 Aug 95


The 20 th Anniversary of the first National Homosexual Conference is marked with the launch of an information kit focusing on the major milestones of gay and lesbian history in Australia.

26-27 Aug 95


Queerlit 95 Australia’s largest lesbian and gay literary event is held at Rozelle Writers’ Centre.

27 Aug 95


200 protest against the Fox Corporation’s planned development of the Royal Agricultural Showground and the absence of a transparent planning and consent process.

31 Aug 95


The South Pacific Motor Club (SPMC) folds after 25 years

Sept 95


The results of a major US HIV drug treatments trial, challenges the effectiveness of using AZT on its own.

Sept 95


The words “sexual orientation” is omitted from the Platform for Action document at the Beijing World Conference on Women.

Sept 95


The Prime Minister, Paul Keating announces Federal Government funding and implementation of the 3rd National HIV/AIDS Strategy from June 1996.

Sept 95

Los Angeles

Manly rugby league footballer, Ian Roberts comes out in The Advocate.

2 Sept 95


The Sydney Star Observer is published weekly.

9 Sept 95


The group, Indigenous or What (IOW) is officially launched and aims to combat myths and provide support for indigenous people living in Australia.

9 Sept 95


Labor candidate, Greg Waters and independent candidate Councillor John Fowler are elected to the South Sydney Council.

9 Sept 95


Fur Bar , a new lesbian bar opens at 274 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst.

29-30 Sept 95


The Emerging Lesbian and Gay Communities Conference explores the lesbian and gay identities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Oct 95


Fox Studio’s Chief Executive announces that Fox will guarantee SGLMG access to existing spaces they currently use.

Oct 95


The PRIDE Centre takes down any reference to lesbians and gay men from its facade after attacks and threats.

Oct 95


PLWHA (NSW) becomes the first HIV/AIDS organisation in Australia to appoint an officer to campaign on treatments issues.

Oct 95


Co-President Karen Smith is re-elected and Steve Auburn is elected Co-President at Pride’s AGM.

28 Oct 95


NSW Police Minister launches the NSW Police Service’s Gay and Lesbian Police Employees Network which aims to provide support for gay and lesbian police.

Nov 95


The Federal Industrial Relations Commission extends family leave to same sex couple under Federal Awards.

2 Nov 95


The Communications, Electrical, Plumbing Union steps in to support a gay member, threatened by the manager of Telstra’s Paging Centre for bringing copies of the Sydney Star Observer to work.

4 Nov 95


NSW Young Lawyers vote to support legislative change to recognise same sex relationships.

23 Nov 95


2 huge red ribbons are hung from the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to encourage Australians to participate in World AIDS day.

24 Nov 95


LSP agree to buy 43-45 Bedford Street, Newtown.

29 Nov 95


The Australian Democrats introduce their Sexuality Discrimination Bill into the Senate to make discrimination and vilification against gay men and lesbians unlawful.

30 Nov 95


Federal Health Minister Carmen Lawrence announces the government will cut the approval of anti-HIV drugs by up to 2 months.

Dec 95


Simon Hunt submits a petition to the Office of Film and Literature Classification urging the removal of “homosexuality” from its list of “adult themes”.

Dec 95


Any major changes to the SGLMG parade, now requires development approval from the Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning rather than the South Sydney Council.

Dec 95


Telstra is a major sponsor for the 1996 SGLMG Parade.

Dec 95


A $600,000 plan by the Roads and Traffic Authority to landscape Taylor Square and improve safety, is announced.

Dec 95


Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant John Baker, gives approval for a support group for gays and lesbians in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to have a float in the 1996 Mardi Gras parade.

1 Dec 95


The Department of Public Prosecutions clears gay solicitor, John Marsden of child sex allegations, first raised in NSW Parliament in December 1994.

1 Dec 95


Federal Cabinet bans people with HIV from being recruited into the Australian Defence Forces.

8 Dec 95


Over 200 attend the Representing Sexualities Conference staged at Sydney University.

12 Dec 95


The 1996 Mg Guide, with its distinctive 9 silhouette cover design by Brandon Williamson, is launched at the Powerhouse Museum.

14 Dec 95


20 protestors greet the Federal Health Minister at an ALP fundraiser, demanding speedier approval of new AIDS treatment drugs.

15 Dec 95


Michael Kirby is appointed to the High Court of Australian replacing Justice William Deane.

Updated 31/3/13