100 years of regional queer history celebrated in online exhibition

maypole mandala australia same-sex commune david johnstone australia gay and lesbian archives alga
Mandala, Australia's first same-sex commune. Photo: David Johnstone Collection/Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

An amazing new digital exhibition explores over a century of queer history in the Tweed in northern New South Wales.

Tweed Regional Museum launched the project, titled Small Town Queer, to coincide with LGBTI History Month in October.

The collection explores Tweed’s “rich tapestry” of queer history from the early 1900s to the present.

The Museum has collaborated with local LGBTIQ+ community members to collect, share and preserve the histories of Tweed’s many and varied queer voices.

It includes a wealth of photos, local research, a podcast series, and an interactive portal for community members to share their own stories.

Local authors, activists, performers, pioneering Mardi Gras 78ers, and sports stars all contributed.

Museum Director Judy Kean said the new exhibition is part of the Museum’s work to represent everyone who calls Tweed home within its collections.

“The exhibition acknowledges those community members whose experiences and many contributions [are] largely missing from public history,” she said.

“It shares stories of diversity within the queer community.”

The website’s “Your Story” portal provides an interactive and inclusive space for locals to share their own stories.

People can upload their own story, lived experience, views and life events. Doing so will allow future generations a greater understanding of the Tweed’s LGBTIQ+ history.

Partners, family members and friends of LGBTIQ+ people are also encouraged to contribute.

Tweed Mayor Chris Cherry said she cares deeply about the project and Tweed’s diverse community.

“I encourage people to tell their own story, it deserves to be told,” she said.

“Please be a part of the Tweed’s rich living history.”

To find out more and view the Small Town Queer digital exhibition, visit the Tweed Regional Museum website here.

LGBTI History Month recognised in October

A number of countries recognise LGBTI History Month during the month of October.

In 2016, the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives and Minus18 brought it here to celebrate our own queer history.

Separately, last month, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebrated a major LGBTIQ milestone.

Fifty years ago, a group of courageous Sydneysiders founded the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP Inc).

During that time, homosexuality was still illegal and homophobia rife.

However courageous Sydney man John Ware came out in an Australian newspaper article on September 10, 1970.

In it, John pleaded for an “open discussion” of gay people to “remove some of the sordid nature” forced on them.

Soon after, CAMP spread nationwide with branches in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.

“We salute the CAMP pioneers who opened up the closet doors, helped pave the way for law reform, and laid the foundations for the LGBTQI+ rights movement that continues and endures,” Mardi Gras said last month.

For more local history, find QNews.com.au‘s deep dives into Australian LGBTIQ history here. Visit the Australian Gay and Lesbian Archives website to find more resources.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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