Inspired by the US phenomena of huge themed dance parties, private entrepreneurs and Sydney's Gay Mardi Gras saw the potential to bring the community together.

Ron Smith explains how Sleaze Balls happened.


The mardi gras workshop in the early 80s introduced the aesthetics and principles of community art to the parade. It was a miracle considering the meagre resources available.

Ron Smith talks about Peter Tully, the Mardi Gras workshop and Imelda’s Shoes.


The arrival of HIV/AIDS in Australia presented the LGBTIQ community with enormous challenges, including the loss of friends and loved ones, difficulties involving life-saving medication and social prejudice. 

Death became an everyday occurrence.

Ron Smith describes the personal impact of the deaths of circles of their friends during this time.




Index Card


070619 RS


Smith, Ron


Date of interview19 June 2007


Access: No special conditions


Ron talks about: Moratorium; Roxy Restaurant; Taylor Square; LSD; Sylvia and the Synthetics; Kandy Johnson; Kristal Pistol; Purple Onion; Mardi Gras Workshop; Peter Tully; Mardi Gras; David McDiamid; Ros Bower; Bill Whittaker; Kevin Golding; Bruce Pollack; Tony Crewes; Gary Whitelaw; Cath Phillips; Robert Lake; David Martin; Unicorn Hotel; Greg Howard; Doris Fish; Ana Wojack; Waratah Deaf Association; Lesbians; Katrina Martin; Immigration Task Force; Clover Club; Misogyny; Heather Grey; Cayte Latte; AIDS; Fred Nile; Sleaze Ball; Peter Wherret; Peter MacDonald; Murray McLachlan;  Jim Jenkins; Ralph McAlister; Elma Mary McFarlane; Malcolm Cole; Jeff Hardy; Hordern Pavilion;


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