The Secret History 5 and The Silver Dollar

silver dollar

The first gay bars I went to — places like the Silver Dollar in the late 1970s — were wildly different to the clubs of today – certainly, they had a family atmosphere.

There was lots of seating — somewhere comfy for Nan. It was not unusual to see older folk on a night out. After all, Queensland clubs were legally restaurants. Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen was opposed to excessive alcohol drinking.

The Brisbane gay and lesbian population, or the kamps, as they tended to term themselves, arranged discreet parties that, sadly, did risk police raids. One party at Norman Park arranged by the notorious Freda Mae West got broken up by later Commissioner Terry Lewis. Equally notorious characters like Dame Sybil von Thorndyke and Toye De Wilde hosted inner city events, which often ended with queens hoiking their skirts and leaping picket fences to escape the cops. Events like that inspired young queens to arrange remote events like the famed Queens Ball at Mt Tambourine to escape the authorities.

With the opening of more discreet events in the late seventies, Brisbane’s kamp population found a better level of protection.

Usually, a business conglomerate big enough not to worry about the Country Party owned a pub as one of a chain. Or a venue owner might make sufficient occasional payoffs to the local cops to feel protected from the forces of the law.

Sunday was a notoriously bad night for grog sales in Brisbane. Joh didn’t want to allow the church’s competition, so pubs opened for a maximum of four hours.

Drag Shows

The few kamp venues ignored liquor laws and began ignoring the laws.

Army Dentist

Openly gay guys and lesbians had no problems coming to the Silver Dollar. But some kamps still preferred ostensibly straight venues. A gay army dentist from New Farm hesitated to haunt the legendary Brunswick gay haunts after dark.

So when he learned of the near-monthly drag shows some of us worked at in the suburbs or regional southern towns, he became a regular whether the show was in Hervey Bay or on the Gold Coast hinterland.

The events were often on a Sunday, and designed to benefit a local sporting team. With the venues far enough away to avoid the attention of the wallopers, everyone made money.

I often chatted with the army dentist during the night. He explained that he went there to meet guys who thought: Oh, a female impersonation show. There’ll be guys there who like dicks. But to all appearances, it was just a nice family show raising money for the local sporting team.

There’d be no action until after it was all wrapped up for the night.

So, the dentist chatted to me, checked out single male customers and made his plans for later.

One night, he told me he had someone who wanted to meet me.

A young soldier who’d booked for a dental consultation at the barracks had asked if he was gay.

A straight transvestive

Yes, he said.

Do you know any transexuals?

The young bloke was a straight transvestite — a bloke who liked to wear female clothing and have sex.

23, tight jeans, army crew cut, the dentist was disappointed to miss out, but always a nice guy and ready to help out others.

Peter, as he was named, turned up to the next show at Ipswich.

OMFG. We didn’t say that then. But if we had!

Later, he offered a lift home to New Farm.

In bed, he stroked my lacey skirt and praised my sexy knickers.

“They won’t taste too good,” I said. My dick’s been taped back for 4 hours.

But then he licked the tape from it and ever so gently licked the beast free.

Finally, he offered a view of his knickers.

“My knickers are gorgeous, too. ”

They were!

I burst into tears.

“You’re wearing women’s underwear.”

“I’m a woman.” I cried.

It was all a little confusing, but I soon felt a greater level of understanding as his tongue snuck back below my waist. In a grand finale, he wiped some lube over my cock, put his hands on my shoulders, bounced up and down three times, and shot across the room three times.

I’d never known anything like it! In the next few weeks, I passed him around to numerous friends.

I told you seventies bars had a family atmosphere.

Secret history of Fortitude Valley 1: Is that all there is?

Secret history of Fortitude Valley 4: 1970s drag queens

Historic Gay Convictions: The Case Of Alf & Freda Mae.

Secret History of Fortitude Valley 3: 2nd Hand Rose.

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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

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