Voices to bring to life Sydney’s LGBT past
SYDNEY: A milestone collection of LGBT oral histories completed by Sydney’s Pride History Group will be officially launched late this month by NSW Governor, Professor Marie Bashir, and Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
To be launched at an invitation-only event at Paddington Town Hall on February 27, the ‘100 Voices’ project has been ongoing since 2004 and began as a way of preserving the history of LGBT people, particularly in Sydney.
The interviews in the ‘100 Voices’ collection cover recollections back to the covert ‘camp’ world of the 1950s and extend through to today’s diverse world of contemporary Sydney and beyond.
“The ‘100 Voices’ collection is the largest oral history record of LGBT Sydney,” Pride History Group committee member, Shirleene Robinson, says.
“[It] was an enormous undertaking made possible by members of the Pride History Group, particularly John Witte, and the willingness of those interviewed.”
The collection covers social groups of earlier days, the emergent gay and lesbian political movements from 1970 on, the evolution of a commercial sub-culture, of the bars and Oxford Street, through to personal memories of Mardi Gras from its beginning in 1978 and the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS and our communities’ responses to its challenges.
Pride History Group president, Lex Watson, says it is hoped the collection provides a glimpse into LGBT history, when a lot of it was not written down at the time or generally accessible in media like newspapers.
“It also records some more personal aspects of our lives,” Watson said.
“There is material here to jog the memories of those who were around at the time and material to inform and remind present generations that much has been achieved and changed, and that gay and lesbian life was often very different then.”