Melbourne Gay Pride (LBGT) History Walk

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The Gay Pride or LGBT pride movement is a positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance

Val Eastwood at Val's Cafe, Swanston Street, 1950s

Val Eastwood at Val’s Cafe, Swanston Street, 1950s

 The Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives is based in Melbourne. It is the only community group in Australia that actively collects and preserves lesbian and gay material from across the country, and makes it readily accessible.  

Self guided walks of the Melbourne CBD can be found in the excellent ALGA history book ‘Secret History of Queer Melbourne’ by Willot, Murdoch, Marshall, ALGA, 2011. The AGLA occasionally runs walks for the public – contact mail@alga.org.au

 Historic sites in Melbourne include:

 Manchester Unity Building – former Tate’s tea house meeting venue.gay lib flag

Redmond Barry statue, State Library. He hung Ned Kelly whose gang was rumoured to be gay. Sidney Nolan painted Steve Hart in a floral dress on his horse.

Old City Square. Victoria Building. The first female gymnasium set up by ‘The New Women’ Harriet Elphingstone Dick and Alice Moon in the 1880s.

Chapter House. First meeting of CAMP (later Society Five) – Campign against moral secret historypersecution.

Tasty Club, 311 Flinders Lane. Site of the notorious drug raid by police in 1994.

Woolshed Bar, Australia House 262 Collins Street. Site of the first Kiss-In, 1970s`.

Tivoli Theatre, Bourke Street. Gladys Moncrieff, Elsie Wilson and the Gallery Girls.

Vienna Café, Collins Street, 1908. Arrest

Val’s Café, Swanston Street. Legendary bohemian venue by the extraordinary Val Eastwood in the 19050s.

Royal Arcade Hotel, The famous Boilers commenced in 1959.

Koko Black, Royal Arcade. Home of the former Turkish baths back to the 1870s.

 Centreway Arcade’s basement, gay male only sauna from the 1970s. SQs [sauna queens]  attended Bucci’s Sauna (formerly Californian Health Studio).

Tatler Newsreels Theatrette opened in May 1939 and the Australia Feature Cinema in October, a month after World War II was declared. In their foyer was the Coffee Lounge. In 1961, the Tatler changed its name to the Curzon, and from August 1968, when the Australia Cinema became Australia I, it became Australia II, until it closed in October 1989.19 The Tatler was a pick-up place for camp men. On 17 February 1951 Truth reported an ‘Offensive Act At Newsreel’. Despite looking ‘the manly goods’, Edward Meyer, 27, of Fitzroy Street, St Kilda was apprehended grabbing the thigh of a policeman, then ‘moved his hand here and there’ and said: ‘I haven’t much time today. We’ll have to hurry. I’ve done enough for one day and time is short‘.

Myers, Bourke Street. Freddies Boys, the reign of Freddie Asmussen, head of the Display Department. and chief window dresser.

Alcaston House, 1 Collins Street. Home of birth control advocate and sex educator Dr Storer.

Queensland Travel Agency, collins Street opp Hotel Australia, site of gay led protests when the despotic Joh Bjelke-Petersen ruled Queensland.

Corner of Swanson and Lonsdale Streets. Society Five operated at a nearby building.

Manchester Unity building on the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets, nude ground floor murals.

Café Gunsler’s (to the left of the Block Arcade, Collins Street) was bought by Austrians who renamed it the Vienna Café (1890-1915). On 22 September 1908, Alan McKail (aged 20), Douglas Ogilvie (22) and Tom Page (25) were charged with behaving indecently in a public place dressed as women in the Vienna Café.

Sargents café, Elizabeth Street (east side) near Flinders Lane and Lt Collins St.  Womens Parliament 1910, Mary Fullerton and Mabel Singleton.

And lets not forget St Kilda, home of The Annual Gay Pride March

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