Sex in Sydney’s Depression-era Parks and Gardens


parks and gardens

Public Parks and Gardens offered men opportunities to meet like-minded fellows for sex at a time when privacy often proved hard to come by.

Young Charles Richards discovered Sydney’s Parks and Gardens when he moved to NSW from Adelaide after leaving his employment as a motor mechanic for his brother. Charles quit his job following an argument and jumped a train to Sydney. Sydney was even then a mecca for gay men searching for others of their kind. Australia’s most populous city offered a more anonymous, and hence safer, existence. The 20-year-old rented a room in budget accommodation five minutes along Bathurst Street from Hyde Park. He strolled down to the park one Saturday night.

St James public toilets

Standing near the St James public toilets, he saw a man checking him out. When 31-year-old Harold Hayes approached, Charles asked for a smoke.

‘I am sorry old sport. I don’t smoke’.

Hayes then went into the toilets but returned soon after and took a bottle out of his pocket.

“You can have a drink of gin if you want it.”

“All right.”

Charles took a swig and said he was leaving, but Harold Hayes had an idea.

“Do you feel like a bit of nonsense?”

“Where?”

“I don’t care,” said Hayes.

“I’m not fussy,” replied Charles and then suggested the Domain, another expansive parkland, a short stroll away. They walked there and sat on a seat under a tree.

“Hayes then put his hand on me then undone several buttons of my fly and started feeling my privates. He then took his private out and showed it to me. He said, ‘Mine is only a little one; if you suck it for me, I will suck yours after.’

“When he undone my fly, I said, ‘It is too cold. I won’t be able to get the horn.’

“I then started to suck his cock, and after sucking it for a few seconds, I stopped and sat up and had a spit.

“Hayes said to me, ‘I won’t be long now if you do it again.’

“He pressed my head down into his lap, and I sucked his cock the second time. I then felt some warm stuff spurt into my mouth, and I spat it out.”

But at the exact moment Charles spat out the cum, a police constable grabbed him.

The Immorality Gang

Sergeant Russell and Constable Walker had been watching Hayes at Hyde Park. Russell headed the ‘Immorality Gang’, a publicity-hungry inner-city vice squad. He had assigned Walker the task of apprehending perverts at Hyde Park and the Domain. Perverts and prostitutes were always good for a headline. Sex sold as well then as now.

Harold Hayes was a well-known beat user, once observed going in and out of the St James bog a dozen times in half an hour. But Harold was too cunning for the cops. He never solicited anyone, gestured suggestively, exposed his dick, or wanked. Harry merely stood outside the cubicle and waited for someone to catch his eye. He then talked to them outside and, if they agreed, sought out a more secluded spot.

The two cops followed Harold and Charles to the Domain. They watched as Charles went down on Harold. When Walker heard Harold say he would cum soon, the constable snuck up on the seat from behind, wanting to verify that Charles had Harold’s cock in his mouth. He got within inches of the men.

“I saw Richards with Hayes’ person in his mouth, and he was moving his head up and down. A few seconds after, Richards sat up and spat on the ground. I then caught hold of the two defendants and said to them, ‘I have been watching you two dirty brutes, and I saw you (meaning Hayes) with your person in this other man’s mouth.’

Sergeant Russell then raced over and pulled open the overcoat covering Harold’s lap.

“I could see this man sucking your person, and it is still in a state of erection and all wet.”

Just to be sure, the Sergeant grabbed hold of Harold’s cock.

In a state of erection and wet and sticking out through the fly of his trousers

He later assured the judge, “His person was in a state of erection and wet and sticking out through the fly of his trousers.”

Harold’s brother bailed him out, and he later copped a £50 good behaviour bond. But Charles had no job, no money and no one to turn to. Young Charles Richards went out on a Saturday night looking for companionship and a private ‘bit of nonsense’ with another consenting adult. He had no criminal record. He never hurt anyone, but he was imprisoned in Australia’s hardest jail for at least seventeen days while the state of NSW decided on his punishment.

Judge Curlewis eventually settled on a £50 good behaviour bond conditional on Charles leaving the state.

“I will give him a chance because it is possible, he was drunk, but that is only one reason. The other is that Richards is not wanted in New South Wales, and the state is well rid of a man of his type.”

Phillip O’Loughlin; Parks and Gardens

Youthful playwright Phillip O’Loughlin also ended up in Long Bay for consensual adult sex.

“On Tuesday night, I walked into the lavatory at St Leonards Park, North Sydney. I went there for a legitimate purpose. On entering, I saw a man, though not immediately as it was very dark.

“After about half a minute, he pressed against me with his elbow and then reached across and touched my person. I then touched his person. We moved across into the corner. I then placed his person in my mouth and sucked it. His person was erect at that time.”

The other man, 40-year-old Donald Ellis, insisted that the 21-year-old made the first move.

He placed my person in his mouth

“I made water, and whilst I was doing so, a young man put his hand across and caught hold of my person and started to play with it. He then got down on his haunches and placed my person in his mouth. At the time, my person was erect. He then worked my person in and out of his mouth.”

Once again, coitus interruptus occurred just as one of the men came. Perhaps the police listened for signs of heavy breathing because glimpsing cum provided stronger proof of sex in court. Indeed, some old judges grasped for smelling salts at the mere mention of cum-drenched male chins.

Constable Saville had been standing in the dark watching the blowjob.

“I was in the public lavatory when I saw Ellis walk in, followed shortly afterwards by O’Loughlin. One of them whispered something, and they both walked to a corner. I was not visible to them. I saw O’Loughlin get down on his haunches and place his face near the fly of Ellis’s trousers. A couple of seconds later, I heard Ellis say, ‘Keep on doing it.’

“I could see O’Loughlin’s head moving backwards and forwards.

“I flashed an electric torch on them and saw Ellis with his person erect in O’Loughlin’s mouth. O’Loughlin’s head was moving backwards and forwards.

“I said to them, ‘I belong to the police. What do you mean by doing this?’

“Ellis replied, ‘I was feeling fresh, and I wanted to relieve myself.’

“O’Loughlin said, ‘He told me he was feeling naughty, and I wanted to do it.’

“When I flashed the torch, I saw fluid on O’Loughlin’s moustache which looked like semen.”

The same Judge Curlewis who gave Charles Richards a £50 bond sentenced Phillip O’Loughlin and Donald Ellis to a year in Long Bay for precisely the same ‘crime’. Neither had criminal records. The old bastard must have just been in a bad mood that day. Curlewis was once maligned in the Legislative Assembly for a generally ‘offensive, overbearing, bullying and generally discourteous attitude’. They probably used even less parliamentary language about him in Long Bay.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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