Brisbane’s iconic Queens Ball Awards returning to City Hall for 60th year

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Photo: courtesy of Funky Munky

Brisbane Pride has announced the long-running Queens Ball Awards event is returning to City Hall in June for its diamond jubilee.

The Queens Ball is the longest-running continuous LGBTIQ event in the world. And this year the iconic event is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Last year, the 59th annual ceremony moved online due to COVID-19. Now Brisbane Pride has confirmed plans for an in-person return to Brisbane City Hall on June 19, 2021.

“We are excited to celebrate such a milestone and continue the tradition of hosting the longest running queer event in the world,” Brisbane Pride President Bec Johnson told

“The Queens Ball Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people and organisations that work within the LGBTIQ+ Community in Queensland.

“The atmosphere of the Queens Ball is one of great resilience, community recognition and pride.

“Planning is already underway to make sure the diamond jubilee of the Queen’s Ball is the best to date.”

Johnson said Brisbane Pride will announce more details on award nominations and the Gala Dinner event soon.

Last June, four Queensland LGBTIQ community advocates and groups received Queens Ball Awards during the virtual ceremony.

Queens Ball’s incredible history in Queensland

Last year, Bill Rutkin, Destiny Rogers and Queens Ball co-founder Laurie Deane collaborated on a book recounting the Queens Ball event’s amazing history.

When it began in 1962, the local “camp” community were suffering relentless police raids on events in town.

Although the police rarely encountered any activity worthy of criminal charge, the raids discouraged attendance and disrupted the festivity.

Tired of the raids, a group of community members rented holiday cottages on Mt Tambourine over the Queen’s Birthday weekend.

They held a fancy dress party and awarded gold-painted Kewpie dolls for the best costumes.

Laurie Deane, well-known in the community as Dame Sybil von Thorndyke, co-founded the event with community elder Ron Sheard.

The Queens Ball soon outgrew the cottages and moved to a local hall. After the first decade, Ron retired and Sybil steered the event over the following decades.

Moving from Mount Tamborine, first to the Gold Coast and then to suburban Brisbane venues, the Ball found its way into inner-city Brisbane in the late seventies.

In recent years, the event once held out of town to escape the attention of the authorities, moved into Brisbane City Hall.

The authorities the event once sought to avoid now attend in the form of government ministers who take to the stage to announce their pride in joining in the celebration.

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1 Comment

  1. Sham Payne for everyone
    15 March 2021

    I can’t wait!!!

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