On this day March 11: Sydney homosexualists

Men modelling hats on Pitt St. Image: State Library of NSW.

On March 11, 1932, the Sydney Arrow continued its relentless crusade against perversion, and more particularly, against Sydney ‘homosexualists’. The paper reported on the consequence of recent police action to drive ‘infamous womankind’ from the streets. ‘Foul mincing perverts’ immediately took up the space vacated by the sex workers. The police obviously failed science. After all, everyone knows nature abhors a vacuum.

According to the report, decent men could barely promenade some city streets without tripping over ‘Parading Pansies’.

“The serpent of Sex-perversion has raised its ugly head.

“Perverts have taken the place of prostitutes in such quarters as the Haymarket, Queen’s Square, and University Park.”

The Three Mullets

“There is an organised body with its fixed ‘beats’, with its own sign of the Three Mullets, drawn in public conveniences.

“Little is known about the club beyond the fact that it is called ‘The Three Mullets Club,’ and has a membership of round about 100. Convincing proof of its existence can be found in any public convenience, where the sign of the Three Mullets is practically always to be found.”

Sadly the article gives no further description of the sign.

A mullet is, of course, a hairstyle. Though I have heard some sort of fish also goes by the same name. Or, in heraldry, a star with straight sides is known as a mullet.

Which was it?

sydney homosexualists march 11
Mullet, mullet or mullet?

Photos of the era show no evidence that the mullet was then a popular hairstyle.

So did the Three Mullets Club adopt a fish as their insignia? Did Sydney homosexualists perhaps take inspiration from Christ’s instruction to become fishers of men?

Probably not. That could cause confusion. Early Christians often drew the fish symbol as a code to indicate their secret meeting places. The Three Mullets Club members would not want a mob of salvationists rocking up mid-orgy rattling tambourines and noisily hallelujahing.

Besides, they’d probably drone on about how discriminated against they felt since the Godless government stopped executing homosexualists.

So, probably club members drew three stars to indicate their meeting places. Or perhaps, the Arrow mistook a mere rating system for something more sinister and inner-city Sydney could not boast of any 5-star bogs.

Sydney homosexualists paying for it

The Arrow generously informed their Depression-era male readers that they could make a few shillings by visiting the places listed.

“It is not a case, as it was with the prostitute, of paying for indulgence. On the contrary, these maniacs pay, and in many cases pay well.

“Naturally enough, men as a general rule would rather starve than descend to such humiliations. But there is a sprinkling of weak-minded members in the most vigorous community.”

So where exactly did these great mobs of Sydney homosexualists congregate?

“Nightly, a large gang of perverts haunt the vicinity of the Haymarket, Belmore Park, and that particular area.’

Also, the block bounded by Pitt, Campbell, Castlereagh, and Hay Streets with Three Mullets HQ at Belmore Park.

“Belmore Park is the meeting place for this gang of perverts, where they congregate to discuss such matters as this type would want to discuss. The corners and shadows about the Central Railway Station, since the disappearance of the prostitute, is a favourite haunt of the homosexualist.

“Appropriately enough, Queen’s Square is a recognised rendezvous and hunting ground of the class, as is the park area below St. Mary’s Cathedral.”

sydney homosexualists march 11
Suspicious-looking types in the vicinity of St Mary’s. Image: State Library of NSW.

Read more:

King Ghazi, March 10 <— On this day —> March 12, Nijinsky

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    11 March 2022

    A gay mate of mine had a poster advertising Board Shorts, it had a picture of a mullet fish draped on top of the boardies where a semi hard penis would lounge. The poster was from the late 1980’s… The slogan was: SLAP IT ON YOUR MULLET. The shape of the mullet is quite phallic due to its rounded head on a thick and rounded body.. The most popular species of Mullet on the Central Coast, just north of Sydney, is named the BULLY MULLET…

      11 March 2022

      Also, the Mullet is a cheap fish to buy, even now, so in Depression filled Sydney at the time, it would have been very a popular choice to consume.

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