Chronology

A chronology of lesbian and gay communities, movements, and venues in Sydney

1920s

 

1930s

 

1940s

 

1950s

 

1960 - 1966

1967

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

 

 

 

 

In late 1980, the late Michael Glynn, founder and owner of the Sydney Star newspaper (which he had started the year before) had a brain child, “to establish an association of business people to promote the interests of gay business”

It was his challenge to get people interested and bring the subterranean gay community to the surface and form an out and proud vibrant gay business community.

Pride History Group and SGLBA member, Ian McLean presented this paper at a conference in 2015.

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History of the SGLBA

 

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

 

Central Square before the building of the railway terminus [with Benevolent Hospital in background]. See 6-person cast iron 'pissoir-style’ public urinal in the foreground.

 National Archives of Australia [C4076, HN107]


 

One of the two urinals that the City Council bought in 1880 for male use, and added to them during the 1880s. One of these early 'pissoirs' could have been still seen in the Rocks area until the late 20th century, when it was taken away for ‘repair’ – and never seen again. 

 A 1968 photo -  City of Sydney Archives [CRS 34/2401/71] 


 

Trams, trains and toilets.

This 1904 lavatory at Railway Square fitted right into the streetscape. 

It replaced an older Jennings octagonal 6-person cast iron urinal, now considered ‘out of date as regards convenience and sanitation’. The council’s official take on their handiwork was that ‘the public conveniences have been constructed with the best materials, and with every regard for proper sanitation, ventilation, easy access, lighting, and adequate accommodation. They featured cast ironwork, sandstone surrounds, and pavement lights, glass tiles, and polished Tasmanian blackwood or cedar joinery work and fittings ‘of the highest class’. This style of on-street underground lavatory was built in various city streets in the early twentieth century.

City of Sydney Archives, Vade Mecum, 1930, pp.163-173; CRS 538/298; 

Town Clerk’s Annual Report, 1904, pp.188-189)


City of Sydney - Public Conveniences


 

Plan of underground public toilet at Macquarie Place 

 City of Sydney Archives [CRS 569/P425]


 

This 1930s photograph shows the entrance to the Macquarie Place men’s lavatory.

 (City of Sydney Archives, CRS 538/009)


 

The Underground Lavatory at Wynyard in the thirties.

Designed by J. H. Merriman under the supervision of the City Building Surveyor Robert Broderick in 1911, the Wynyard underground convenience was originally designed to be similar to its ‘brother’ in Macquarie Place. The glazed roof and extensive pavement lighting maximised light into underground areas. The shiny ‘white opalite’ glass tiled walls symbolised the early twentieth century’s obsession with sanitary hygiene. (City of Sydney Archives, CRS 569/T1216)

This photograph from the 1930s shows the lavatory’s dome as cone shaped. But the original plans show a spherical dome. No one knows when the design changed – during construction or at a later date. In any case, this photograph shows the survival of this convenience despite the digging up of the park for the underground railway.

(City of Sydney Archives, CRS 538/012)


 

Demolition of men's underground public toilet at Druitt Street in front of the Queen Victoria Building, 1933 

 City of Sydney Archives [031\031756] (SRC5345)


 

1934

 

City of Sydney Archives [020\020299] (NSCA CRS 538/039, Cleansing Department photographs, 1929-1939) 


 

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