Brisbane’s oldest gay men’s sauna, Bodyline, will close its doors for the last time on January 24.
Manager David Kemp (pictured), aka Daisy, confirmed the Bodyline brand will not be moving elsewhere.
“It’s really sad,” Daisy said. “It’s been a part of the Brisbane gay scene for so long. It’s going to feel funny when it’s really gone.”
Bodyline was established by Geoff Delandelles and his partner in the early 1990s, in wake of the decriminalisation of sex between men in Queensland.
The first premises were in the inner Brisbane suburb of Woolloongabba, with a relocation to West End in the early 2000s.
The business is being wound down by its current owner, Delandelles’ mother, who inherited Bodyline when her son died.
“A printing company has bought the building,” Daisy said.
“We’ve had guys coming through working out how to set up the printing presses downstairs.”
Financially, the sauna has remained a going concern, with a loyal following of regulars. Many have been shocked and disappointed by the announced closure.
“We’ve been getting cards,” said Daisy. “There was one from a guy who lost his virginity here, said it was the most memorable day of his life. Someone else sent us chocolates.
“I feel sorry for a lot of the guys who don’t go to any other places, especially older guys. It’s a social outing, they come to cruise, but they also meet their friends in the lounge for coffee and cake.”
With the news of Bodyline’s demise, Daisy said there had been interest from a number of quarters in establishing another sex on premises venue to fill the potential gap in the market.
“Rents in this area are just ridiculous though,” Daisy said.
“It’d be harder these days too, with new regulations about how far you can be from churches and schools.” (Ironically, a church stands opposite the current site.)
Bodyline is located at 45 Peel Street in South Brisbane. The venue plans to go out with a bang next week on its traditionally busiest night, Towel-Free Wednesday.