Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ museum Qtopia has a new permanent home and is set to open in time for next year’s Mardi Gras.
NSW Premier Chris Minns (above right) pledged $3.85 million in funding to allow the museum to permanently move into the old Darlinghurst Police Station at Taylor Square.
It’s in that building that NSW Police jailed and assaulted dozens of 78ers – the original Mardi Gras marchers – on June 24, 1978. The station was later shut down in the 1980s.
Chris Minns said Qtopia will “turn a page on the Old Darlinghurst Police Station’s story and write into it a new chapter.”
In the coming weeks, the non-profit organisation Qtopia Sydney will move in and begin refurbishments for the project.
“I am just full of admiration for the leaders of this project because it is not an easy thing to get off the ground,” Minns told the Daily Telegraph.
Education, commemoration and celebration
Qtopia Sydney will showcase Sydney’s “queer storyline from First Nations people to today”.
A year ago, Ian Roberts came to me with an idea – to create Australia's first pride museum.
Now we're getting on and delivering it.
Turning a page on the Old Darlinghurst Police Station's story, where LGBTQ+ 78ers were held and beaten.
And writing into it a new chapter. pic.twitter.com/2ot1UVqzjn
— Chris Minns (@ChrisMinnsMP) April 18, 2023
Curator Dr Liz Bradshaw said the museum will be “an incredible resource for education, and commemoration and celebration of all aspects of the community.”
“I really hope that we can live up to the potential of the breadth and depth of stories in our community,” she told the Telegraph.
It’s important to “acknowledge the complexity and the pain” of the old Darlinghurst Police Station site.
“And in fact recognise how far we have come by acknowledging those difficulties and acknowledging the people that fought for our rights.”
During Sydney WorldPride in February, Qtopia set up a queer museum installation inside Green Park’s Bandstand.
The Bandstand housed exhibits on LGBTQIA+ activism since the 1970s, and a recreation of a historical Sydney gay nightclub.
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