2019 Autumn Edition



From the 2018/19 committee


Dear PHG members (past and present), community partners and friends,

Yes, it's autumn. Say goodbye to summer. Say goodbye to Mardi Gras for another year. Thanks to  all who put on yet another fabulous event for and with our community. 

But 2019 is amping up and is a biggie for all of us, particular those of us with an interest in LGBTIQ histories. For example, did you know:

  • it's 35 years since NSW decriminalised homosexual acts (1984)

  • it's 50 years since the Stonewall riots in New York (1969)

  • it's 100 years since the formation of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute of Sexual Sciences in Berlin, Germany (1919)—the first wave of 'modern' homosexual law reform.

These events shook our worlds. Keep your eyes peeled for info on commemorative events.

As always, there seems to be a lot to report: things PHG has done and things we're going to do. This month, we have a call out for assistance from members for a task that can be done from the comfort of your own desktop. See the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon shout out below.

But we need to start this newsletter with the sad news of the recent death of our dear friend, community elder (and PHG life member), Ron Austin. See our tribute below. Special thoughts to Ron's many friends and family.


Your 2018/19 committee

L-R (above): Mark, Gay, Kim, Scott, Sophie, Shirleene, Sarah and James 

In Memoriam

Ron Austin (1929–2019) 


Many in our community had the pleasure of knowing the wonderful Ron Austin.

While we are saddened to have to report his recent death, we could not be happier to share our pride and love for this legendary man.

Ron will be remembered for many things, but his suggestion to organise a street party on a cold June night in 1978 turned out to be a corker! 

For anyone not in the know, that party turned out to be Sydney's first Mardi Gras.

But Ron was active in the community for many years before and since. He was a foundation member of both CAMP and the Phone-a-Friend hotline, a service close to his heart which is still a central part of the Q-Life network. For these and many other services, Ron was awarded PHG life membership.

More about Ron.

A gathering of friends and family will take place on Wednesday 24 April 11–2.00pm at the Camperdown Commons.

At our April meeting, we shared some laughs and happy memories as we remembered Ron. Thanks to Gay Egg for the colourful boa tribute and to Sarah for the photo.

Ron's photo credit (top): sorry, unknown, but used with love.

RIP Daphne Dunne (1920–2019)

We also acknowledge the recent death of Mrs Daphne Dunne, a long time ally of the LGBTIQ community. Those who attended the 40th anniversary conference Pride of Place at Sydney Uni will remember Daphne's engaged (if wheelchair-bound) attendance and daughter Michelle's beautiful photographs. We offer condolences to the Dunne family. 

PHG: Out and About

Fair Day 2019 


Fair Day was a blast! It was great being next to our community buddies ALGA, the 78ers and MAG. 

We had an excellent time! Did you?

We were thrilled to welcome our newest members, who signed up while visiting our Fair Day stall and completed the online registration: Helen Caple, Monika Bednarek, Dune Surf, Robert Farlow, Simon Margan, Freya Moore and Jared Price. Welcome all, it's great to have you with us.

We had just under 100 people participate in our 'How well do you know your LGBTIQ history?' quiz. The quiz was an excellent way to get people talking, sharing and learning about our history.  Seven people scored 10/10 while the average score was 7/10. Thanks to Scott McKinnon for organising.

Congratulations to Cathy Garde whose name was drawn from the hat of top-scorers.

Michael Mullins, Caitlin Williams and James Worner also experimented with recording 'Pride Moments' through the afternoon. So many visitors gravitate to our stall with stories to tell. This year, with Pride Moments, we were able to record a dozen of these stories with those who were keen to share. We will publish these via our social media pages. Stand by!

Thanks to members Sophie Robinson, John Witte, Toby Bales, Garry Wotherspoon, Kim Kemmis, Scott McKinnon, Michael Mullins, Caitlin Williams, James Worner, Gay Egg, William Brougham and Robert French for helping with the stall and to the many other members and friends who came to say hello.

Supporting the community. What's next?

Our Fair Day presence generated so much positive feedback, we were wondering how we can support our country cousins.

Members, particularly those of you in regional NSW, tell us how PHG might support your local history initiatives.

Send your ideas through to the committee.


We need your help! Updating Wikipedia

PHG is working with the City of Sydney Council to make sure Wikipedia includes diverse voices from Sydney's LGBTIQ community. This is a great opportunity to make sure our history and people are being represented and is accurate.

This will happen in two stages. Stage 1 is where we identify the content; Stage 2 is the 'edit-a-thon' event where the changes will be made.

We need your help with Stage 1! Can you help us identify:

  1. Wikipedia pages that need to be updated (eg inaccurate? insufficient? obsolete? inconsistent?)

  2. Wikipedia pages that haven't yet been written (eg people, venues, events)

  3. other web sources that can be linked to existing content (eg media releases, podcasts, newspaper stories)

This is a task that can be done from the comfort of your own desktop/laptop by surfing Wikipedia to identify things that need to change. Items required by 15 May.

Stage 2, the 'edit-a-thon' will take place on Saturday 15 June (2–5pm). Some PHG members will join CoS and Wikipedia to facilitate a public event where the editing will occur. You are welcome to join this event as well but the request for help is to identify the content.

Pink Triangle commemoration: Tues 30 April 

An event to remember oppression of the LGBTIQ community will take place at the Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial (the 'Pink Triangle') in Green Park on Tues 30 April at 5.30pm.

While paying particular tribute to the many thousands of people of diverse sexuality and gender  persecuted under Nazi rule, the event will remember the (ongoing) struggles of all LGBTIQ people, and celebrate the abundance of resilience and strength.

After a welcome and introductory ceremony at the memorial, guests will be invited to the Sydney Jewish Museum to hear testimony from a holocaust survivor and to participate in a Q&A with members of the LGBTIQ community.

This free event is organised by our friends at the Sydney Jewish Museum. While all are welcome, registration is first required.

For more info, see the SJM website.

Pride Festival 2019


It's happening!

Sydney's 2019 Pride festival, RIOT 69: One Moment in Time, will launch on Thurs 6 June.

No surprises that RIOT 69 will officially commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York's Greenwich Village. So, appropriately, the launch will take place at Sydney's Stonewall Hotel in Oxford Street.

While Stonewall in 1969 was 'one significant moment in time,' its significance has reverberated across the years and across the miles—including as an inspiration for Australian activism. 

Sydney Pride Festival is an opportunity to raise awareness of our community's origin story. This year, the organisers are focusing on the international community—its strength and resilience—while doubling down in our pursuit of equality for all LGBTIQ brothers and sisters. 

For more info and to get involved, check out www.sydneypride.com


35th anniversary of decriminalisation: 8 June 2019

Lex Watson and Robert French in 1984 on the way to law reform. [Photo: Robert French]


In 1984, the NSW Premier Neville Wran introduced a bill to the NSW Parliament to amend the Crimes Act 1900 to decriminalise homosexual acts in NSW.

The bill was passed on 22 May 1984 (albeit with an unequal age of consent) when members of Wran's Labor government voted with support from some of the NSW Liberal opposition, including then opposition leader, Nick Greiner. The bill received assent on 8 June 1984. 

History Week 2019 

An alert from our friends at the NSW History Council announced that History Week 2019 will be 31 Aug through to 8 Sep. The theme is 'Memory and Landscapes'.

Registrations for events are due 14 June so if you have an idea you'd like PHG to sponsor, please contact the committee soon. 


Exhibition: Marriage—Love and Law

NSW State Archives and Records at Penrith Regional Gallery, 86 River Road, Emu Plains. Til 15 June 2019  

Marriage: Love and Law explores the laws, beliefs and social attitudes that have shaped and reshaped marriage in Australia over three centuries, culminating in the 2017 marriage equality amendment.


Stories are told with assets from the NSW State Archives collection: letters, Acts of Parliament, convict records, court documents, photographs, films, plans and reports will be on display, many for the first time.

NSW State Archives has commissioned works by four Australian visual artists—Danie Mellor, Blak Douglas, Raquel Ormella and Freya Jobbins—who have each responded to stories and records they've sourced from the collection. Specially commissioned pieces by writers Tara Moss, Kiera Lindsey and Judith MacCallum, and baritone Simon Lobelson further contribute to the variety of perspectives that make up the marriage history narrative.

100 year anniversary: Institute for Sexual Sciences

Berlin, Germany, 27–30 June 2019 



And just because we think it's important...

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Institute for Sexual Science by Magnus Hirschfeld and his collaborator Arthur Kronfeld in Berlin in 1919. As well as being a research library and housing a large archive, the Institute also included medical, psychological, and ethnological collections and campaigned for social and legal equality of people of the 'third sex'.

The institute was visited by around 20,000 people each year who came from all over Europe and other parts of the world. Poorer visitors were treated for free. In addition to its campaign for the repeal of Paragraph 175 (the state criminalising homosexuality), the institute advocated sex education, contraception, the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and women's emancipation.

The amazing archives did not survive the destructive intent of the Nazis, even before the building was destroyed by WW2 Allied bombings.

To mark the centenary anniversary, an international conference on queer archives, libraries, museums and special collections (ALMS) will be held 27–30 June 2019. 

And finally...

Baby, can you spare the time?

Members are getting busy on a number of other projects at the moment. Do you want to get involved?

In addition to the Wikipedia event, we could use some assistance with:

  • logging a few remaining oral history interviews

  • chasing up permissions to publish some interviews

  • scanning photographs and posters.

Or do you have your own initiative you're wanting to work on? Get in contact!

Our general email address is info@pridehistory.org.au.

Thanks for reading

Feel free to forward this to your friends and network. We are always happy to take inquiries for new memberships.

Become a member of Pride History Group and get involved today!

And don't forget that members are encouraged to come along to monthly meetings to find out what's going on, catch up with friends and get involved. 

We meet on the 3rd Monday of each month at Glebe and hope to see you soon. 

Pride History Group