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.

Image not available

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.

Image not available

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.

Image not available

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.

Image not available

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 94


Bridges Sharp Consulting negotiate 3 deals with mainstream companies worth $40,000 and product for the 1994 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG).

7 Jan 94


Young Liberals at their National Convention pass a resolution acknowledging the diversity of family groupings including same sex couples and their children.

22 Jan 94


The AIDS Memorial Quilt is unfurled at the Exhibition Hall Darling Harbour.

Feb 94


A major donor to the Lesbian Space Project withdraws $50,000 after she was named publically against her wishes.

Feb 94


Darlinghurst Patrol, a new community policing body is formed and aims to operate in conjunction with local police and be a lookout for anti-gay and lesbian violence.

4 Feb 94


6 lesbian and gay families join Nic Enright at the Museum of Contemporary Art forecourt to launch the 1994 SGLMG Festival to the theme of “We Are Family’.

4 Feb 94


The Opera House Trust refuses to allow the Opera House to be lit up (pink) for the SGLMG launch, because it believes it is not an event of international significance.

4 Feb 94


The Liquor Administration Board rules in favour of local residents concerned about noise generated by the SGLMG parties held at the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) Showgrounds.

13 Feb 94


Fair Day is held at Jubilee Park, Glebe.

15 Feb 94


Pride and Prejudice, is the first gay and lesbian exhibition held at the Australian Museum.

26 Feb 94


Looking Good, the first Aboriginal gay and lesbian visual arts exhibition is held at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists’ Co-op.

March 94


An Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) report finds 37% of transgender people have experienced workplace discrimination, 34% have been raped and their suicide rate is 5 times higher than the average.

4 Mar 94


The Cadbury Schweppes company withdraws advertising from the TV show, Hey, Hey Its Saturday when it hears there will be a live cross to the SGLMG Parade.

5 Mar 94


The 17 th annual SGLMG parade of 146 floats, 11,000 participants is held and ends at the RAS Showgrounds ahead of a sold out party of 19,000, at which Kylie Minogue performs.

6 Mar 94


A petition signed by 90 Federal MPs in an effort to re-schedule the ABC telecast of the SGLMG parade fails, and the telecast goes ahead at 8:30pm Sunday night capturing 45% of the Sydney TV audience.

11 Mar 94


Cath Phillips announces that Burn the only national lesbian and gay coalition magazine would close.

21 Mar 94


Queer TV quits Community Television Sydney ending a 4 year bid to produce GLBTQ programming for Sydney audiences.

April 94


Waverley Council enters into an agreement with the NSW Department of Housing to develop public housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.

April 94


The Women’s Library is established at Alexandria Town Hall, Redfern with a collection of more than 9,000 books.

16 Apr 94


A rally of 50-100 people outside the Cadbury-Schweppes Melbourne plant protests against the company’s withdrawal of advertising on Hey, Hey Its Saturday.

May 94


A 30 year old Chinese National is granted asylum in Australia by the Refugee Review Tribunal because of his fears of anti-gay ‘intimidation and ostracism’ in his homeland.

May 94


The NSW Minister of Health announces a $1M refurbishment of HIV patient facilities at St Vincents Hospital, after 2 years of community lobbying.

13 May 94


Reforms pass the lower house of NSW Parliament outlawing HIV/AIDS related vilification.

14 May 94


150 people take part in the first Community Support Network Tree Planting Project in Sydney Park to commemorate those who have died of AIDS.

22 May 94


11,500 attend the annual AIDS Memorial Procession from Taylor Square to the Domain.

26 May 94


The Australian Press Council rejects a complaint about an article in the Country Leader on March 14 which compared AIDS to the rabbit virus myxomatosis.

July 94


170 gay owned or run businesses in Sydney call on the Tasmanian Government to repeal its anti-gay laws. Oxford Street venues take part in a boycott of Tasmanian produce.

6 July 94


Terry Patterson, owner of the Midnight Shift for 13 years, sells the venue to Herman Melkman.

14 July 94


20 lesbian and gay activists hold a noisy demo outside the Tasmanian Travel Bureau in the City in protest against the state’s determination to keep its anti-gay laws.

30 July 94


Rob Patmore becomes the new President of SGLMG, when Susan Harben steps down.

30 July 94


Bisexual, Transgender and Heterosexual people applying for membership of SGLMG must demonstrate their support for the gay and lesbian community.

Aug 94


Federal Cabinet approves counting homosexual couples as families in the next Australian census.

2 Aug 94


The Rex Hotel’s 37 year old  Bottoms Up Bar closes its doors.

Sept 94


Geoffrey Cullen, whose lover, a Naval planner died in January, is denied a spouse pension by the Commonwealth Superannuation Appeal.

Sept 94


French artists, Pierre et Gillies are chosen to design the 1995 SGLMG poster.

Sept 94


North AIDS, is established in Dee Why and is the first community organisation supporting people with HIV/AIDS in Northern Sydney.

11 Sept 94


2 gay men lodge a complaint against a homophobic taxi driver with the Anti Discrimination Board. RSL taxis finds the taxi driver reaction to the gay men ‘understandable’.

16 Sept 94

New York

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)’s consultative status is revoked by the UN after pressure is applied by the US, which claims some of its constituent groups promoted paedophilia.

20 Sept 94


The NSW Liquor Act is amended to accommodate the Sleaze Ball by allowing a special Governor’s License to be granted to ‘significant community events such as festivals, concerts, sporting events and so on’.

Oct 94


Susan Harben is endorsed as the ALP candidate for the State seat of Bligh, held by Independent member, Clover Moore.

Oct 94


Ayesha and Christie McNichol are refused service at Illusions Night Club , when they are told “We don’t serve drag queens here”. Illusions subsequently apologises.

1 Oct 94


1994 Sleaze Ball is held at RAS Showground. 17,000 attend and $180,000 is raised.

19 Oct 94


Sexual privacy legislation, The Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Bill is passed by the Federal Parliament.

19 Oct 94


The South Sydney Council approves a $50,000 grant to assist SGLMG stage the 1995 festival, parade and party.

19 Oct 94


Bruce Meagher is the only candidate for the Presidency of AIDS Council of NSW (ACON), when Peter Grogan does not re-nominate.

Nov 94


SGLMG finalises a lease on 21-23 Erskineville Road, Erskineville and moves from Rushcutters Bay.

Nov 94


Test transmissions of Sydney’s first gay and lesbian radio station, brainchild of Barrie Unsworth and John Singleton begin.

5 Nov 94


A ground breaking art exhibition, Don’t Leave Me This Way: Art in the Age of AIDS, opens at the Australian National Gallery.

13 Nov 94


The 20 th Polympics is held at Erskineville Oval .

Dec 94


The Lesbian Space Project (LSP) founder withdraws her $20,000 donation when the LSP AGM votes to restrict membership to women born female.

Dec 94


The Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project secures funding from NSW Dept of Health for a project to look at racism and homophobia and another to investigate and address issues of people with HIV/AIDS being harassed or intimidated in their own homes.

Dec 94


The Federal Industrial Relations Commission decides that Australian gay and lesbian workers are entitled to use their sick leave to care for their partners.

Dec 94


NSW Labor MP, Dierdre Grusovin, is relegated to the back benches, when she uses parliamentary privilege to accuse gay solicitor, John Marsden of being a paedophile.

Dec 94


Glaxo, the manufacturer of the AIDS treatment drug 3TC agrees to supply the drug at no cost to people with less than 250 T cells.

7 Dec 94


Queer Youth Cultural Coalition is launched to encourage the visibility of queer youth through cultural activities.

18 Dec 94   The Parramatta Gay Social Group aka the Western Area Gay Social Group (WAGS) is formed.

Updated 31/3/13