WE NEED YOUR OPINION – Should QNews continue to list The Wickham Hotel as a gay welcoming venue?

The time has come to do some soul-searching and WE NEED YOUR OPINION. -PLEASE NOTE Voting is now closed.  Thank you to the 1,343 people who took the time to vote.  The results ARE BELOW.
QNews has been inundated with responses after breaking the news that Coles only donated $4000 ($1000 to each of four charities) from The Wickham’s 2015 Big Gay Day. In previous years the average amount donated to LBGT charities was close to $30,000.
Some people want to protest at Coles (owners of The Wickham), some want Big Gay Day moved to another venue and others are urging QNews to stop listing The Wickham as a gay-welcoming venue.

Under consideration:

  • The Wickham has now stopped all gay [LGBT] weekly events including upstairs.
  • QNews has been told a photographer was not used anymore after he was told not to take “gay photos”.
  • Some of our mature community are totally offended by photos of Joh Bjelke-Petersen now taking pride of place on the walls of the Wickham. [Some older members of our community have criminal records just for being gay]
  • The Wickham only donated $4000 to charities from 2015 BIG GAY DAY  ($1000 to each charity and they used FREE CHARITY LABOUR to set up the event) despite that Coles Big Gay Day says nothing has changed.  Normal donations from the gate are $23,000+ to charity.
  • The Wickham seeks to take money from our community but to date has refused to answer questions if funds from Big Gay Day 2016 will be donated to LGBT charities, as the event was set up to be a suicide prevention charity fundraiser in 2001, as the event always donated to charities before Coles bought The Wickham, and Coles continued to donate a significant amount until 2015.
  • The Wickham refuses to distribute LGBT material and magazines.
  • PLEASE READ the article and reader comments at the bottom of this page or CLICK HERE for the full article in previous issue of QNews.
THE QUESTION: Should QNews continue listing the Wickham as a gay venue on our Q Map/business directory/venue listings/magazine/events/calendar and continue to recommend The Wickham (part of Coles group) to strangers, newly out people and travellers as a gay welcoming venue?
QNews serves many travellers so we invite you to HAVE YOUR SAY in our online poll below.




Earlier this month QNews revealed that Big Gay Day, an event heavily promoted as a charity fundraiser, has been accused of misleading patrons about the amount of money it gives to LGBT charities after the charities received a fraction of the money that would normally be donated.

Big Gay Day started in 2001 to raise money for suicide prevention and between 2006 and 2014 charitable donations averaged about $30,000 each year. Last year, only $4000 was given to its nominated charity groups.

A Melbourne-based media manager for Coles, which owns The Wickham, told QNews that “the high running costs of an event featuring international headline artists meant that the hotel actually made a significant loss on the BGD every year.”

“While the 2015 Big Gay Day also recorded a loss, as a goodwill gesture we donated $4000 to our charity partners following the event,” he said.

Former BGD organiser Kyle Hogan said claims the event had never made a profit were “totally false.”
“The last two years that I was involved with made substantial profits … I can’t see how an event that takes in excess of $300,000 (a combination of gate takings and bar purchases) can make a loss,” Mr Hogan said.
QNews has contacted the Wickham about its plans for charity donations following its 2016 Big Gay Day event, but did not receive a response before press time.

QNews was inundated with your responses to the story on social media, including:
Rohan: “Sad story. But not surprising. Maybe this event should be taken elsewhere.”

Sandii: “I find it hard to believe there was no profit made when it was $40 entry & $ 9 for a can of mid strength! Haven’t seen any of these ‘international superstars’ that apparently cost so much either!! Brissy gay scene is dead.”

Daniel: “I hate to say but these days, most of the money collected from fundraisers and charities go to the CEOs, managers and employees of the groups collecting the funds … Its a tax free haven that uses the ‘feel good emotion of giving’ to make people wealthy.”

Jason: “Boycotted it for yrs as it seemed more for profit than its intended purpose… Coles is only wanting the pink dollar… nothing else…”

Caroline: “This is a joke!! Ticket prices go up every year, the wick has completely sold out. Sad times.”

Andrew: “What should we expect from such a greedy player in the duopoly that is strangling Australia.”


Pene: “RIP the Wickham.”

Chris: “All I can say is move this event to a GAY venue but in Brisbane we are limited as we only have the Sporties left. The GLTB scene in Brisbane is dead. I feel sorry for the younger ones that really have nowhere to go like we did to let our hair down and be ourselves and feel comfortable.”

Emma: “I think I haven’t been for over a year to the Wickham, and it never looks busy. Last year’s bgd looked dead but considering the big business that has purchased it; it comes as no surprise if they’re truly shafting the charities they supposedly donate to.”

Jamie: “I won’t be going this year. Big Gay Day has lost its way, big time. Rather than focus on the community, it has become headlining money grabber. BGD used to be a gold coin donation. Makes me very sad after all these years that I won’t be going.”

Nick: “It would be awesome if BGD was at the RNA!”

Jason: “And the Wickham now having art work featuring Sir Joh and other figureheads of that era who discriminated relentlessly against the LGBTI community … they are happy to take our money but hang this sort of art work.”

Dan: “It’s not really a gay venue any more, not like it used to be.”

Dean: “MOVE the event … to a gay owned venue or one willing to support the LGBT community. Wickham has been crap for YEARS.”

Brett: “Been once since they took over & haven’t been back since & never will.”

Terry: “My partner and myself have been once, not likely to go back.”

Danielle: “I won’t go back till the flags do.”

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


  1. The good old days are over
    19 February 2016

    As the longest serving general manager of this once gay venue I feel so saddened for the QLD gay community as a whole. The only way to stop this is to boycotte the event and create another. I just hope the qld community is strong enough to stay way from this event to show their discust. Bring back the good old days

  2. Dead
    19 February 2016

    I use to absolutely love going to the Wickham, any day of the week it was great. But ever since these renovations and changes, it’s all gone down hill. It really is such a shame because it was my go to place for a Sunday arvo drink or a big Friday night. I hate to say it but it probably is time to stop advertising it as a gay friendly place and move BGD somewhere else. RNA is a great idea.

  3. sad
    19 February 2016

    Its amazing to see over a longitudinal expanse how as oppressed as our community has been even in sydney with stone wall to now and infinite struggles to be excepted not to be vilified not to be bashed, killed in some circumstances by hateful vengeful corporate or individuals: only now to be robbed so unashamedly as now with corporate greed. Please Q donot advertise them any more, please to our community no more infighting, no more wickham . Lets as a community rise above this another hurdle gr8er as a whole, vibrantly rejoicing our new home . Good bye Wickham thank you it was fun .xoxo

  4. coles is homophobic
    19 February 2016

    When I worked there 2 years ago, the venue was run and managed by GLBTIQ staff, since the flag was taken down and it renovated, its no longer the writer friendly venue it used to be

  5. Want to be treated equally? Start acting like it
    20 February 2016

    Gays want to be treated equally yet want their own venue so they can be separated from the straights? Hmmm… Ok. Morgan Freeman made an interesting point when he said if we stop talking about racism it stops. Stop referring to people as black, white. They are people! Same goes to end homophobia. They are not gay or straight. They’re human!! This journalist is the one creating an issue. Another article by the media doing more harm than good… anyone who has been to The Wickham of recent years would know it’s a welcoming place for everyone regardless of sexual orientation

    • Separated from straights?
      22 February 2016

      It’s very disingenuous to summarise this as a case of “gays want to be separated from straights” which somehow undermines the desire to be treated equally.
      In all my years, I have never seen any desire from the LGBT community to be removed from cis-born heterosexuals. Ever. What is a reality is that LGBT people are still persecuted openly in our society even if the law has slowly caught up, and to have a venue where you can be openly affectionate with your partner without being subjected to that persecution – in whichever form – is very important. True equality will come when LGBT people can be as open about their gender identity and sexuality in the streets as the wider population without fear of abuse or random punches. Right now, we cannot do that. When that does happen, who knows, that might be the end of the need of gay venues, but we shall always seek out our company because it’s friendly, it’s family, and it’s community. Don’t forget also that we exist as a community only because wider society rejected us. They created us, and we’ve done wonders with that creation.
      As for the Wickham being welcoming to everyone, I’m not sure that seeing portraits of Joh Bjelke-Petersen adoring the walls of a venue is a big, cheery g’day to the community whom he detested and legislated against.

  6. Don't support those who don't support you.
    20 February 2016

    The Valley has used it’s alternative status as an effective, and mostly positive way of building communities and businesses. If a business decides to turn it’s back on that, turn your back on the business.

  7. regarding the wickham not being a gay venue
    20 February 2016

    It has turned into a beer garden,,They even say ob their page as dedication to the day community the famous wixkham sign would be a rainbow color which never happened,.,,,It is not a gay venue and i just cant believe they get to have big gay day….They dont support the gay community but they see profit

  8. The same all over the world
    20 February 2016

    I’m saddened to read this, but as a regular visitor to Brisbane (from the UK), I find it’s a similar story all round the world. Gay venues are becoming increasingly few and those that remain under gay ownership even more scarce. Events like Pride, Mardi Gras or BGD cost a lot to stage, especially with increased safety and security… that cost has to be met before (or at least separately) to their fundraising — but that’s why sponsorship is imperative. I hope a workable and valuable solution for all is found.

  9. Big Gay Day
    21 February 2016

    Suggest the Big Gay Day be moved to the Brunswick Hotel while not gay owned, it is gay friendly and supporting many gay groups. This must be a far better choice than the Wickham with its policy changes towards LGBT, giving a meagre $4000 from BGD and the exorbitant prices they charge for drinks. The Brunswick has a large car park that can be used, numerous bars, great food and probably can even close off Kent Street to use.

  10. Big Gay Day
    21 February 2016

    I read this article with dismay! i cant believe after just $4,000 donated to the nominated charities that bgd is still at the wickham!
    This event was started to help those who needed the money and not coles.
    After a long absence i thought i would give the wickham a visit on there aniversary of ( Out on sunday)
    My mistake they advertised Lamb on the spit to celebrate this anniversary and having a look around there was just a smattering of lgbt folks and not much atmosphere and you could tell the wickham was only doing this to make money from us, they even had the gall to charge for the spit roast, too me i would have given it away as a nice gesture for the celebrations! it just setted the tone of the wickhams priorities with the lgbt community too take money from us lgbt folks! Out on sunday should not be supporting such a pub that does not have our good intentions in mind!
    Its quite simple if they dont support us we should not be advertising in any of the lgbt mags that they are a welcoming lgbt venue! its not rocket science!
    Lets move it too somewhere else, maybe the RNA showground or maybe the surrounds to the powerhouse Museum but please lets not have it at the wickham ever again!

  11. The Wickham Hotel
    21 February 2016

    I noted for a while now the “change” in The Wickham! Seems their “market” has changed and if you view online or pop into the venue it is amazing how many straight people frequent the venue these days!
    It seems that the demographic is more to the young hip crowd and not to the LGBT community, since the takeover/renovation.
    While may still be LGBT friendly, it certainly has lost the “gay vibe” and feeling of yesteryear! No longer my choice of venue.

  12. The Wickham Hotel
    27 February 2016

    Being a regular visitor to Brisbane from the UK I used to like The Wickham as a gay venue but not any more. the last 2 times I was there recently I would not even consider it gay friendly and most certainly will not be recommending to any of my gay friends visiting from the UK. It defiantly should not be mentioned in any gay guides fro Brisbane. On another note I notice people object to the wall of shame of old Qld politicians’ which was the reason I left Brisbane in 1983 and ended up in the UK. The articles on the wall are not complimentary to either Joh or Hinze or Don lane. It also mentions the bombing of the Whisky Agogo. Everybody at the time knew who was really responsible and It certainly was not Finch and his accomplice. The wall is an indictment of the polies and police at the time and certainly not praise. But after all that its still not a gay venue anymore

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *