Goulburn Valley Pride Inc. THE place to meet, socialise and spend time with those you KNOW exist, but you cannot seem to find… (in Greater Shepparton, Victoria, Australia)
  • Our Queer History Museum | 1970s


    Scroll down to read about this artwork…

    The Laws and Notable Events

    1972 – The alleged murder of Dr. George Duncan.

    1973 – Homosexuality is removed from the DSM.

    1975 – SA becomes the first state in Australia to decriminalise male acts of homosexuality (in response to the death of Dr. Duncan).

    1975 – SA equalises the age of consent for heterosexuals and homosexuals to 17 years old.

    1976 – ACT decriminalises male acts of homosexuality.

    1977 – NSW discrimination against LGBT+ people becomes illegal, although homosexuality itself is still illegal.

    1978 – The first Mardi Gras Festival in Sydney.

    The Murder of Dr. George Duncan

    Dr. George Duncan was born in London, and moved to Australia in 1937. He was a university law lecturer at the University of Adelaide. About 11pm on 10 May 1972, Dr. Duncan was walking along the southern bank of the River Torrens, a known meeting spot for gay men. At the time, homosexuality was illegal across Australia, so gay men met up in secret, usually at night. Tragically, Dr. Duncan was beaten and thrown into the river where he drowned. Dr. Duncan’s body was pulled from the river and then unceremoniously thrown back in so that the police could pull him out again for the TV cameras. Rumours spread that Dr. Duncan had been killed by “poofter-bashing” police officers. Three officers were suspended from the police force and

    eventually resigned. The event of Dr. Duncan’s death inspired South Australia to be the first state to decriminalise male acts of homosexuality in 1975. Early 1986, three former vice squad officers Brian Hudson, Francis Cawley and Michael Clayton were charged with manslaughter of Dr. Duncan. Cawley and Clayton went to trial in 1988 but were both acquitted of the charges after refusing to testify. No one was convicted for Dr. George Duncan’s murder.

    The Gilbert Baker Pride Flag

    In 1978, Gilbert Baker designed the first pride flag with 8 colours, and each colour had a different meaning. Pink (sex), red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), turquoise (magic/art), blue (serenity) and purple (spirit). It was first flown in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in 1978. The pink was quickly eliminated because the fabric was not readily available. In 1979, Baker wanted to decorate the street lamps on both sides of the street by displaying half of the flag on each side. In order to do this, the turquoise stripe was dropped, to keep the number of colours even.

    The First Mardi Gras

    Early in 1978, the gay and lesbian community in San Francisco were fighting the Briggs initiative, which would remove anyone who supported homosexuals from the school system in California. The gay and lesbian community in San Francisco internationally reached out for support in the form of solidarity events. On the 9th anniversary of the New York Stonewall riots, June 24 1978, the Gay Solidarity Group in Sydney planned a day of events with the intention of promoting gay and lesbian culture and encouraging political activism against LGBT+ discrimination, in response to San Francisco’s call out. There was going to be a march and a public meeting in the morning and a street parade at night. The parade started at 10pm at Taylor Square, and intended to go down Oxford Street and end in Hyde Park. There was a flatbed truck with speakers on the back playing music being followed by a parade of hundreds of LGBT+ people and allies. They were joyously chanting as they marched and gay men and women came out of the gay bars to join the parade. By the time they reached College Street, the police had confiscated the truck. The parade then turned down William Street and marched towards King’s Cross, still yelling and chanting. They continued down Darlinghurst Road to El Alamein Fountain where the police had blocked off the road. The crowd tried to turn back and go the other way, but the police had blocked the road behind them, trapping them. The cops started beating and arresting people, throwing them violently into paddy wagons. The crowd fought back, pulling others out of the paddy wagons. 53 people were arrested and many others were brutally beaten. The following Monday, the Sydney Morning Herald released the names and addresses of those who were arrested, causing many of them to lose their jobs and get evicted.

    Continue your journey here.

    (This image and related history are part of the Our Queer History Museum project.)