State Library of NSW wants to hear your story on the ‘Pride Line’


State Library of NSW operates Pride Line to collect oral histories of the queer community
Image: Supplied

The State Library of NSW has put a call out to the LGBTQI+ community to share their pride stories on a very special anniversary.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of Australia’s first Gay Pride Week (September 8–16, 1973).

In New South Wales, the State Library has an ingenious way of capturing the community’s oral histories and personal stories.

The Pride Line is a dedicated phone number where people can record a voice message with their thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Callers’ messages will then be selected for inclusion in the library’s extensive LGBTQI+ collections.

The Pride Line can be called anywhere across NSW on (02) 9273 1212 for the cost of a landline phone call.

You can also call the Pride Line for free from the special retro phone booth in the foyer of the library’s Macquarie Street building.

Messages can be up to five minutes long and can be left anonymously 24 hours a day until October 30. Find out more at the library website here.

State Library curator Bruce Carter explained that the library has collected LGBTQI+ material since the 1970s.

One such story is that of Sydney teenager John Englart. John took part in the first Gay Pride Week, a decade before homosexuality was decriminalised in NSW in 1984.

He excitedly wrote in his diary, “Monday 10th September 1973. This is GAY PRIDE WEEK, I have come out!!!”

The Sydney man later donated the diary as well as dozens of photographs he snapped at the “gay lib” rallies he attended.

State Library of NSW says ‘everyone’s pride story is important’

Bruce Carter said 50 years on, there are “still so many stories that need to be told.”

“For generations much of our history has been hidden or ignored by libraries and museums. Instead, it’s been kept safe in community archives, shoeboxes and personal collections,” he said.

“This anniversary is a reminder that everyone’s pride story is important.

“They deserve to be visible in the Library’s collection so that future generations know we were here, proud and queer.”

State Library curator Bruce Carter said the library previously recorded messages from the community during and after Sydney’s WorldPride celebrations.

“From 6 September to 30 October library visitors will be able to hear a selection of [these] messages,” says Bruce.

“We hope more people will feel comfortable to contribute their stories, and we see a wonderfully diverse range of multi-generational queer voices and experiences coming through.”

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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.

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