Mardi Gras parade route in Sydney gets NSW heritage listing

78ers and MPs announced heritage listing for Mardi Gras parade route.
Image: Alex Greenwich/Twitter

The route of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade since 1978 and the old Darlinghurst Police Station are now heritage listed in New South Wales.

This week NSW Heritage Minister James Griffin announced the parade route travelled by the 78ers – the group of original Mardi Gras protesters in 1978 – is now on the NSW State Heritage Register.

The old Darlinghurst Police Station building – where police detained and assaulted 78ers – is also now heritage listed.

“The Heritage Listed route includes parts of Oxford Street, Flinders Street, Anzac Parade and Darlinghurst Road, as well as the Darlinghurst Police Station,” Griffin said.

“This well-trodden 2.4 kilometre stretch has paved the way for a more inclusive Sydney since 1978. Our Mardi Gras [is] the longest-running continuous LGBTIQA+ rights march in the world.”

1978 Mardi Gras parade route in Sydney is ‘a rite of passage’

This year is the 45th anniversary of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. In February Sydney is hosting WorldPride 2023 for the first time in our hemisphere.

Griffin said the listing acknowledges the pivotal role Mardi Gras has had in shaping NSW’s social history.

“[It] celebrates how after years of community activism it contributed to better acceptance, understanding and equality for LGBTIQA+ communities,” he said.

One of the 78ers, author and activist Peter de Waal AM, said the 1978 route is “a rite of passage”.

“During our 1978 Sydney Mardi Gras parade, we, with fearful angry voices, shouted, ‘Stop police attacks – on gays, women, and blacks’,” Peter said.

“Many years later, our rainbow community now parades there with proud pride, diversity, and belonging. For many, our 1978 route became a rite of passage.”

Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said the heritage listing is “an international statement on the importance of creating and protecting LGBTIQA+ spaces.”

“Oxford Street and its surrounds have a deep-rooted connection to the equality movement in Australia,” he said.

“[The areas] have long been a safe space for our communities to gather, celebrate and protest.”

The courage of those who marched in 1978 was inspiring

Sydney MP Alex Greenwich thanked the NSW Government for the heritage listing. The gay politician added he hoped the addition of the Darlinghurst Police Station building paves the way for Qtopia, Sydney’s first LGBTIQA+ museum to move in.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the heritage listing celebrates the 78ers’ legacy of “standing up for recognition and acceptance in society.”

“The courage of those who marched in 1978 was inspiring and reaped results,” Moore said.

This year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras coincides with Sydney WorldPride 2023. The mega-festival kicks off on February 17 with over 300 events across Sydney over 17 days.

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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.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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