2019 Winter Edition



From the 2019/20 committee


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

Thanks to all who attended our 2019 AGM on Saturday 3 August.

As usual, Shirleene's president's report reminded us of the dizzying array of achievements in 2018/19. James' financial report reminded us of the generosity of our members, friends and community partners and hard work of many of our members.

PHG's membership is growing. While most of us are Sydney-based, increasing numbers are regional or live in other state capitals. Whomever and wherever, we appreciate your support and generosity. Now let us support you! Keep us posted on your regional Pride events or how we can support your local oral history efforts.


AGM highlights worth noting:

The AGM saw the unveiling of our fab new website. Thanks and congrats to the web development team which has worked so very hard to make this happen. Thanks too to members and friends who have given time or donated dollars towards the project. Every minute and cent has helped.

The AGM means it's renewal season again! All PHG memberships are annual subscriptions from AGM to AGM. Thanks to all early birds and eager beavers. [*More info and link below.]

The AGM also means the election of a new committee. Leaving the committee in 2019/20 are treasurer James Worner and general committee member Mark Gillespie. Both were thanked for their work and will be missed in committee life, while new recruits Trevor Pritchard and Monika Bednarek were welcomed to the team.

So, your 2019/20 PHG executive and committee are:

  • President—Shirleene Robinson (returned): Shirleene is one of Australia's foremost LGBTIQ and oral historians. She is an author, advocate and public commentator. In her role as Senior Curator of Oral History and Indigenous Programs at the National Library of Australia she is responsible for shaping the nation’s oral history collection and preserving stories that reflect the diversity of Australian life.

  • Vice-president—Scott McKinnon (returned): Scott is vice-pres of both PHG and Oral History NSW. He's an award nominated* oral historian, writer and geographer with a research background in disasters, geographies of memory, and histories and geographies of sexuality and gender.

  • Treasurer—Trevor Pritchard: Trevor is retired from a corporate career and is now a full time LGBTIQ community volunteer. He is an active carer and regular ACON volunteer on three programs and is Treasurer/Secretary of MAG (Mature Age Gays) social group. His experience and community connections are welcome at PHG. Welcome Trevor!

  • Secretary—Sophie Robinson (returned): Sophie is a highly skilled emerging scholar and oral historian of late-twentieth century lesbian and queer communities. She recently completed a doctorate exploring the role of feminism and radical activism in transforming Australian lesbian communities through the 70s, 80s and 90s.

  • General committee—Gay Egg (returned): Gay is a Sydney community activist and all-round legend! She is a 78er and a long-time advocate and grassroots campaigner for equality, diversity and LGBTIQ rights.

  • General committee—Sarah Midgley (returned): Sarah's behind the scenes and public activism for LGBTIQ rights—eg as Board Director and NSW co-convenor of Australian Marriage Equality during the marriage equality campaign and her work on the 30 year history project for the Flying Bats, women's soccer team—were the reason she was recognised as the Inner West Council's 2018 Citizen of the Year. Sarah is passionate about PHG's community driven efforts to record and share LGBTIQ histories.

  • General committee—Kim Kemmis (returned): Kim is a cultural historian whose research, writing and community interest place him at the centre of histories of Australian LGBTIQ sexualities. Kim will take over the writing of the newsletter in 2019/20.

  • General committee—Monika Bednarek: One of PHG's newer members, we are thrilled to welcome Monika to the committee. Monika comes from a linguistics and media background and has already made colossal contributions to the work of the web dev team. Welcome Monika!


August General Meeting - 19 August

The next General Meeting will be held at 6:30pm, Monday 19 August 2019 at St Helen’s Community Centre, 184 Glebe Point Road, Glebe.


Time to renew your membership!

With the AGM, all PHG membership renewals for 2019/20 are now due. We invite you to join or renew your membership via our online membership portal. Annual subscriptions remain just $20 for waged members or $5 for unwaged. The portal gives you the option to pay your membership online (by card or PayPal) or offline (by cash, cheque or EFT). Feel free to add a donation!

PHG is a true community organisation. We operate completely on the time and $$ donated by our members and friends. Your committee is grateful for the generous assistance and support given by so many members through 2018/19. Thank you.

The membership portal also enables you to make suggestions for work you'd like to see us do or nominate an area of expertise. We encourage you to get involved. (But it's ok if you don't!)


Out and about: Community happenings

No Longer Criminals panel discussion: 11 June

To mark the 35th anniversary of the decriminalisation of male same-sex activity in New South Wales, PHG held a public forum at UTS on Tuesday 11 June. The panel was made up of Ken Davis, Di Minnis and Robert French and the discussion was moderated by Scott McKinnon.

Thanks to the great crowd for supporting this key moment and to our friends at the Australian Centre for Public History at UTS for hosting.


Wikipedia edit-a-thon: the adventure continues!

Yep, we did it!

On Saturday 15 June, PHG joined forces with the City of Sydney to co-host our inaugural Wikipedia 'Edit-a-thon'. Such events aim to add LGBTIQ community voices to Wikipedia and make sure our histories and people are being represented.

PHG members Garry Wotherspoon, Toby Bales and James Worner led a team of volunteers who created new pages and edited existing ones. For example, check out our new articles on Campaign Against Moral Persecution, the 78ersPeter de Waal AM, and a guerilla tweak to the article on Sydney's Archibald Fountain.

We'd love to see more of our people, venues and events represented on Wikipedia. So, let's keep it going!

If the idea of 'guerilla editing' of Wikipedia appeals to you (a task that can be done from the comfort of your own desktop/laptop), contact us for training info: info@pridehistory.org.au.


Coming up...

Seminar: Lesbian sexual health activism in the 80s–90s

PHG super secretary Sophie Robinson is giving a lecture as part of UNSW's Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) seminar series.

  • Where? UNSW, Room 221/223, Level 2, John Goodsell Building, UNSW Kensington Campus

  • When? Wed 14 Aug, 3pm–4pm

  • Free, but please register first.

Sophie's paper is titled '"The blokes get all the recreational sex, and we have to have meaningful sex:" Historicising lesbian sexual health activism in Australia 1980s–1990s.'

It will consider how, in the broader context of second wave feminism and the HIV/AIDS crisis, lesbian activists drew attention to the ways their sexualities continued to be overlooked, and therefore under-resourced. Sophie draws on the 30 oral history interviews she completed as part of her PhD research to trace what some women considered a ‘lesbian sexual revolution’.

Other events in the UNSW CSRH seminar series might be of interest to our readers:

  • Fri 30 Aug, 6–8pm: Launch of Dr Kerryn Drysdale's book Intimate Investments in Drag King Cultures: The rise and fall of a lesbian social scene at the UNSW Bookshop. More info.

  • Wed 4 Sep, 3–4pm: 'Anonymous care: LGBTQ+ young people’s digital mental health support', seminar paper by Dr Paul Byron. More info.


Newcastle Pride: 22–26 August

Newcastle Pride happens again later this month, with cabaret, sport, dance parties, a Fair Day, a drag-off, a queer film event and a remounting of Shirleene Robinson's exhibition Serving In Silence on the experiences of LGBTIQ+ people in the Australian military.

For more information and the full program of events planned for the 2019 Newcastle Pride Festival, visit the official website or check out the Facebook group page.


Interpreting Memories: 24 August

What? Advanced oral history training session

  • Where? Macquarie Room, State Library of NSW, Macquarie Street, Sydney

  • When? Sat 24 Aug, 10.30am-1.30pm

How do we make sense of the memories that we record as oral historians? How do we begin to transform stories into histories? An advanced oral history workshop featuring Alastair Thomson of Monash University, presented by Oral History NSW and the State Library of NSW.

For more information and to book your place, go to theOH NSW website.


History Week: Oral History NSW Annual Public Lecture

And just in case you don't think PHG vice-pres Scott McKinnon has been busy enough, he will deliver OH NSW's annual lecture as part of History Week 2019.

Scott's paper is entitled '"Everywhere you look is a loss”: Memories of bushfire in a transformed suburban landscape.'

  • Where? History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney

  • When? Sun 8 Sep, 1–2:30pm

  • General admission $10.

In his lecture, Scott will examine the interconnectedness of memory, space and recovery in the aftermath of Canberra's devastating bushfires of 2003.

The fire burned through bushland, plantation forests and farms, killing four people and injuring hundreds of others. It easily reached Canberra's suburbs and destroyed nearly 500 homes. Rural and suburban landscapes were permanently transformed.

Central to Scott's argument is the place of oral histories in how individuals and communities (and governments) remember and recover from a disaster event.


Oral History Australia Conference: 10–13 October

The biennial conference for oral history buffs will be held at the State Library of Queensland, Brisbane. While the main conference takes place on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 October, other events are scheduled before and after. The 2019 theme is Intimate Stories, Challenging Histories.

Early bird registration has been extended until 14 August.

For further info, including conference program and registration details, see the OHA website.


Parramatta Pride Picnic: Sun 10 Nov, 10.30am–5pm

Just a heads up that, once again, PHG will be supporting ACON with out presence at the Parramatta Pride Picnic.

This year, it's all happening at Parramatta's Riverside Park on Sunday 10 November. It's always been an excellent day. And important to support our community in the west.

More info soon to come but, for now, pop it in your diaries.

Other regional events are happening too. We'll support you if we can. Let us know.


All queer roads lead to Canberra in October–November

Who'd've thought Floriade would be the least queer event in Canberra this spring?

Anchored by SpringOUT, the ACT's annual Pride festival (2–24 Nov), there are a floriade of other reasons to get on the Hume and head to Canberra this year.

To name just a few:

  • Floriade springtime festival: Sat 14 Sep–Sun 13 Oct

  • Out & Loud international LGBTIQ choral festival: Thurs 24–Mon 28 Oct

  • SpringOUT LGBTIQ pride festival: Sat 2–Sun 24 Nov

  • Australian Homo Histories conference: Fri 15–Sat 16 Nov.

[*See below for more info.]


Out & Loud Choral Festival: Thurs 24–Mon 28 Oct

Right after Floriade and leading into Spring Out is the Out & Loud international Choral Festival, hosted this year by Canberra's Gay and Lesbian Qwyre.

The festival features performances and workshops for hundreds of singers from a dozen+ rainbow choirs from around the world and culminates in a mass choral sing-off where the specially commissioned choral work by Sally Whitwell will be performed.

Sounds massive!

Check out details on the Out & Loud festival website.



And then there's SpringOUT itself, the ACT's annual Pride-fest. A full list of events is on the SpringOUT website but we can't not tell you about:

  • Sat 2 Nov: Fair Day kicks things off

  • Sat 9 Nov: ‘20 years of Queer,’ the 20th Anniversary Masked Spring Ball

  • Fri 15 Nov: ‘YesFest’ the famous Braddon street party

  • We can't not plug PHG president Shirleene Robinson's exhibition Serving in Silence, making a return visit thanks to Libraries ACT. If you missed the Sydney (or Melbourne) exhibition, this display brings together photographs, objects, documents and the life stories of current and former service personnel to explore how LGBTI Defence members navigated their lives in the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, and Royal Australian Air Force.

  • Fri 15–Sat 16 Nov: the 19th Aust Homo Histories conference [see below] inc. the launch of PHG member Graham Willett's book, ACTing Out, to mark 50 years of queer activism in Canberra. Congrats Graham.

  • The Tuggeranong Arts Centre will also be celebrating queer culture in southern Canberra.

  • Sat 23 Nov: the famous Canberra Bushdance at the Yarralumla Woolshed and the Fruit Tingles Women’s Dance at the Majura Community Centre close out the festival for 2019.

All the best to our Canberra cousins. Sounds like a great Pride gig.


19th Aust Homosexual Histories Conference: ANU

Coinciding with SpringOUT is the 19th Aust Homo Histories (AHH) conference.

This year marks the 5oth anniversary of organised law reform in Australia. The ACT's Homosexual Law Reform Society, established in 1969, was the first in Australia to campaign for decriminalisation, leading a truly vibrant period in LGBTIQ political, social and activist history.

The Daughters of Bilitis/Australasian Lesbian Movement (Melbourne, January 1970) and the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (Sydney, mid-1970) followed soon thereafter. Change was inevitable!

The Aust Homo Histories conference has been held annually since 1998 and brings together academics, professional and independent scholars, students, activists and community organisers in a similar spirit of friendship and spirited debate. The organisers hope to see that diversity repeated in Canberra in 2019.

AHH 2019 is presented by our friends at the Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives (ALGA) and supported by the ACT Government Office for LGBTIQ Affairs and the ANU School of History.

The call for papers remains open until Thursday 15 August.

See you in Canberra in November!


But wait — there's more (news)!

2019 NSW Premier's History Prize shortlist

Huge congratulations to PHG vice-president Scott McKinnon who is currently shortlisted for a 2019 NSW Premier's History Prize.

Scott co-wrote and produced two amazing radio documentaries for the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras last year. The docos feature interviews from PHG's oral history collection, including with Di Minnis, Ken Davis and Ron Austin.

Eps are still available to listen live or download. Find them from the PHG Pride Pod page:

Judge's comments:

Scott (and his collaborators) "have drawn on their exemplary skills as oral historians, historians of sexuality and as experts in audio and radio history to produce a captivating 2-part program on the history and meanings of Mardi Gras. The programs marked the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras in June 2018 and the timeframes covered by the episodes, the foundation years of 1979-1981 and the near death and resurrection years 2002 to 2003, enable a sophisticated presentation of a complex history. 

"The producers draw on their knowledge and connections with Sydney’s gay community utilising the valuable Sydney Pride History Group's Oral History archive as well as the City of Sydney’s archival resources to produce a program giving voice to many participants, scholars and observers over the years.

The evocative use of music, sound and excellent narration transports us back to the heady, if often conflictual days of the 1980s and 2000s, but teaches us important lessons about the personal and political history of gay, lesbian and queer life in the decades since and now."

Congratulations Scott and best of luck when the award is announced in History Week 2019.


ABC RN's The History Listen: Amazon Acres

Established in the mid-1970s, Amazon Acres was a bold experiment to create a self-sufficient community for women only on a 400 hectare property in northern New South Wales. A new two-part podcast on Radio National’s The History Listen describes what drew these women together, what divided them and what they achieved.


Exhibition at the National Art School: Paper Tigers

As part of Sydney's upcoming Sedition festival, the National Art School (NAS) Gallery will present Paper Tigers, an exhibition celebrating Sydney’s dynamic poster art and public protest movements through the '60s, ’70s and early ’80s.

Paper Tigers remembers a period when vibrant and experimental creative production incited social action.

PHG members Digby Duncan and Robert French have supplied posters from their collections.

  • When? Fri 30 Aug–Sat 12 Oct 2019, 11am–5pm. Launch Thurs 29 Aug, 6–9pm.

  • Where? NAS, Cnr Forbes/Burton Streets, Darlo.

  • More info? Check out NAS Events.


And finally...

Baby, can you spare the time?

Members are always busy on a number of projects. Do you want to get involved?

We can always use some help to:

  • log a few remaining oral history interviews

  • chase up permissions to publish some interviews

  • scan photographs and posters

  • work on our Decades of Pride timeline.

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

Pride History Group