1943: Walford Dunbar accidentally lands on dick

walford dunbar rockhampton landed on dick

According to his sworn testimony, Walford Dunbar took down his pants to relieve himself in a Rockhampton churchyard, stumbled, and landed on a dick.

Another snippet of queercentric news from Australian media history.

To be clear, it is not funny that men faced persecution and prosecution for consenting adult sex acts. And it is sad that desperation drove a young man to attempt such a ludicrous defence.

 Walford Dunbar

23-year-old Walford worked as a labourer. He and other single young men at loose ends often hung about outside Rockhampton dance halls. In May 1943, he and 18-year-old Jack Ahearn were caught drinking wine outside the National Hall and copped substantial fines.

Then, on the night of August 27 1943, Walford was back outside the National Hall. This time, with 16-year-old James Kearney. At about 10.30 pm, James suggested they go and get something to eat. However, they stopped in the grounds of the nearby Salvation Army Citadel for sex.

Detective Constable Raetz told the Supreme Court in Rockhampton that after hearing voices he flashed his torch into the Salvation Army yard. He saw James lying on the ground with Walford astride. Both hurried to pull their trousers up after they saw the torchlight.

Walford testified that he took his pants down to relieve himself, fell, landed on James’s dick and at that exact moment, the copper flashed his torch.

James Kearney and Walford Dunbar were tried separately after James claimed Walford ‘interfered’ with him.

Justice Brennan

Unfortunately, their cases came before Justice Brennan, a Queensland Supreme Court Justice prone to long homophobic rants and harsh sentences for gay sex.

Unable to sentence James to jail because of his age, Brennan set a bond of £10 conditional on the lad’s good behaviour for 12 months and committed him to the care of his father. But not before calling them into his chambers for one of his lengthy lectures.

Brennan sentenced Walford to 12 months with hard labour.

“This is one of those cases which I think is a disease.

“I think there is only one cure, castration, but that is not accepted by the powers that be.”

Extraordinary! That Queensland once placed a man on the Supreme Court so ignorant, he believed removing a man’s testicles would discourage him from gay sex.

Other Queensland men jailed for consenting adult sex acts:

Gotcha: Jack Boyd, a Queensland byword for homosexuality.

Outback sodomy: Barcaldine tryst’s sad consequence.


A history of Queensland Police and LGBTIQA+ Queenslanders.

Consensual buggery in colonial Australia.

Consensual Buggery in Colonial Australia

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.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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