Sunday, February 04, 2007

Australian Lesbian and Gay Archive

ALGA conduct a couple of history walks every year. For the first time, today we went on one of these walks. It was 11am and the meeting place was outside Luna Park in St Kilda and so necessitated a tram trip on Sunday morning to St Kilda. We forced our way onto the tram, but many did not and were left sprinkled along St Kilda Road.

Our group visited various locations around a 2.5 kilometre long walk, pausing every so often for a talk, and while I knew much, there was some I did not.

Something that I should have worked out but never really thought about, was the development of flats from the 1920s on. Until then the only options for gays and lesbians were living at home with parents, intolerable, living in boarding houses under the strong gaze of the owner (no hanky panky tolerated in my establishment) or the fairly unaffordable option of buying their own house.

Suddenly, they could rent their own flat and have an amount of privacy and freedom they could only have dreamt about.

Ok, ok. I'll give you another. Tai Ping restaurant at St Kilda Junction (I think the one that is now closed but survived for a long time on the income from a huge billboard) was a regular meeting place for gays and lesbians to sit around drinking coffee. At meal times they would drift upstairs to allow diners tables to eat at and thus allow the owner to make money, and then after meals, they would come back down and drink more coffee. Around the corner in Wellington Street was El Sombrero where lesbians, gays, prostitutes and crims gathered. There is even an ASIO (=FBI or MI5 or Mossad) file on El Sombrero. Lesbians sat in the front window keeping nit for anyone with a police or armed forces haircut or demeanor and with a yell from one of them, the place would clear out a back entrance in a flash.

Yeah, it was all very interesting.


  1. Wasn't it the Tai Ping that got done for pussycats in the dimsims?

  2. Oh dear, we SO want to go silly with the idea of getting done for pussy parts in dim sims, but observing the decorum Highriser expects from his commenters, we won't. (Well, for a short time only.)

  3. A little bit of pussy would do no long term harm surely?

  4. You would know Andrew, with your experience.

    I knew pussy would bring that debauched old beard out of the regal stronghold.

  5. A little bit of pussy does no long term harm at all. Well, except if the attached person is a complete psycho, but that comes with the territory (God. Bad cliche. Sorry.). HINT: If you're heading off to Luna Park, the 16s are usually chockers most of the time. An alternative is to get a 3 or 67 and walk down Carlisle St (it's two or three stops down as you'd probably know, not far at all). Failing that you can always catch the 16 down that path. It's something I suggest when those cranky "got left behinders" see me coming. No harm in complaining to Yarra Trams either. They might increase the frequency or look at shuttles because the loading down there is always a killer.

  6. I suggested that, but R said as we were doing a walk, we weren't going to walk to get there as well.