Tributes after sudden death of LGBTIQ+ nightclub founder


Thomas Williams was a techno producer and artist and founded Tasmania gay nightclub Flamingo's Dance Bar
Image: Frisson Records

Tasmania’s LGBTIQ+ community are mourning the death of Thomas Williams, the founder of long-running Hobart gay nightclub Flamingos Dance Bar.

The 39-year-old died suddenly on Friday (December 30, 2022), Flamingo’s co-owner Gary Quilliam told the Mercury.

Quilliam said he was “devastated to lose such a close and valued friend”.

“Like so many Tom and I became instant besties after meeting at Flamingos’ first home in Argyle Street, Hobart almost 20 years ago,” he said.

“Tom along with his family and a close group of friends built the club which thrived under Tom’s guidance.

“He was smart, with a special warmth and genuineness and a hard working musical talent.

“His vision was to create a safe space for the rainbow community of Hobart and Tasmania that wasn’t considered ‘underground’.”

Quilliam said Thomas Williams was “a talented and highly respected music producer and recording artist” who produced techno music under the name Tomchilla.

“Fly high and fly free Thomas,” he said.

Thomas Williams created ‘a place of refuge for LGBTIQ community’

Equality Tasmania president Rodney Croome added he’s shocked and deeply saddened by Thomas Williams’ death.

“He was the founder of Flamingos Dance Bar, a place of refuge for our community,” Croome said.

“[Thomas was] a dauntless advocate for LGBTIQA+ equality. He was also a gentle, kind, loving friend and father who will leave an unfillable hole in the hearts of many people.”

For almost 20 years, Flamingo’s Dance Bar was its state’s only permanent LGBTIQ+ venue for the community.

The nightclub reopened after Covid pandemic lockdowns. However it later closed and moved out after its longtime home at 201 Liverpool Street in Hobart sold.

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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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