The camp social clubs set up their own rooms dedicated to shows and parties. In the early 70s, activists set up gay centres and held fundraising dances and ran coffee shops.

Ian Maclean remembers Dances at Darling Street.


From the early 60s to the mid 70s, camp social clubs provided events for homosexual women and men and trans people from all social strata to gather and be themselves.

Ian Maclean was a disc jockey at many of these events.


A breakaway from the Chameleons, Pollys once hosted a range of social events including the Polympics and still run regular dances.

Ian Maclean recalls a Polympics highlight.


Sydney has a long history of female impersonators. It was through the camp night spots in the early 60s, that a new wave of drag performers first emerged. There was a divide between the professionally produced drag show seen at the Jewel Box, Les Girls, Kandy’s Garden of Eden, the Purple Onion, Ivy’s Birdcage etc and the fun shows put on at the social group dances and balls.

Ian Maclean describes what he saw when he was a DJ at the Chameleons.




Index Card


060210 IM


Maclean, Ian


Date of interview10th February 2006


Access: No special conditions


Ian talks about: Knights of the Chameleons; Gay and Lesbian Business Association; CAMP INC; Chameleons; 432 Parramatta Rd Petersham; Dawn O’Donnell; Donnie Mandy Smith; Bill Bland; Johnny Farnham; The Zoot; Isadora’s; Three Sisters Social Club; Kieron; Mandor; Wal Doris Dowling; Aquarius Club; Karingal Social Club; Pollys Social Club; Regent Social Club; Yvonne Oakey; Cronulla Social Group; St Vincents Hospital AIDS Ward; Chabascos; ACON; Debbie Brown; Boomerangs Social Club; Molly Fuller; Barry Geary; Ivy Richter; Ivy’s Birdcage; Purple Onion; Ken Kandy Johnson; Garden of Eden; Trocadero; Pollympic Games; Claudia Wagner; Brian ‘Karen’ Chant; Rose Jackson; Capriccio’s;  UNSW GaySoc; Philip Chown; John Marsden; Connections; Mosaic; Yvonne Oakey; Brent Phillips; Unity Social Group;  Clover Businesswomen’s Club; OUT FM; Connections; Coastal Connections;


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