Dark history of proposed site for new LGBTIQ pride museum

darlinghurst police station forbes street sydney 78ers mardi gras protesters jail
Image: Sardaka/Wikimedia Commons

Sydney will get its first LGBTIQ+ pride museum, tracing the “queer storyline from First Nations people to today,” in time for WorldPride next year.

The proposed museum is called Qtopia, and is backed by funding from City of Sydney, Lord Mayor Clover Moore announced on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) this week.

“Oxford Street [is] one of the most LGBTIQA+ inclusive communities, not just in Australia but around the world,” Moore said.

“It’s the perfect home for a museum that celebrates the history and culture of the LGBTIQA+ community.

“The museum aims to provide a safe and inclusive space for the public to celebrate, remember and learn more about the rich history of Sydney’s LGBTIQA+ community.”

Moore said with Sydney hosting mega-festival WorldPride next year, now is the time to bring this museum to life.

rainbow crossing city of sydney darlinghurst oxford street lgbtiq museum worldpride clover moore qtopia
Image: courtesy of City of Sydney

“It will educate visitors and locals on Sydney’s role in the LGBT rights movement and HIV/AIDS response, and become a contemporary beacon for pride and diversity.”

Qtopia is a not-for-profit organisation that will operate the museum in Sydney.

The plan is for the cultural centre to host permanent and temporary exhibitions telling the LGBTQIA+ community’s stories.

Significant historical site sought for Qtopia pride museum

Qtopia and the council want the NSW Government to provide Taylor Square’s former Darlinghurst Police Station site for the museum.

It’s in that building that police jailed and bashed fifty-three 78ers – the original Mardi Gras marchers – on June 24, 1978. The building was shut down in the 1980s.

“While this building contributed to injustices suffered by many LGBTIQA+ people, transforming it into a significant community resource will support the healing of past injustices, address past wrongs, and celebrate the community’s resilience,” Lord Mayor Moore explained.

“Museums and cultural spaces play a central role in how we remember the past and interpret the present.

“Qtopia will be a place to celebrate the glamour, confetti and outrageous fun of parades and parties. But also to reflect on hard-fought gains and unite in the ongoing fight for equality.”

Moore said the City of Sydney will put forward $300,000 to establish “the important new cultural centre.”

darlinghurst police station forbes street sydney 78ers mardi gras protesters jail
Image: Sardaka/Wikimedia Commons

WorldPride is one of Sydney’s biggest events since Olympics

Mega-festival Sydney WorldPride 2023 is on in Sydney from February 17 to March 5, 2023.

The event will coincide with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. But WorldPride will also incorporate around 200 arts and sport events, marches, parties, First Nations events and a landmark human rights conference.

It’s the first time a host city has brought the biennial event to the Southern Hemisphere.

Moore said Sydney was proud to welcome the world to the city for the “incredible celebration of pride and diversity.”

“It will be one of the largest events hosted in Sydney since the Olympic Games,” she said.

“WorldPride will allow us to showcase Sydney’s bright and inclusive energy to the world, and bring significant and lasting economic, social and cultural benefits to the city.”

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.

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