Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gay Carlton

I have never thought of Carlton having much relevance to gay Melbourne so I was surprised to learn of its gay history during the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives annual walk, this year around Carlton. The walk was supposed to be an hour and a half, but stretched out to nearly three hours.

We started at the Royal Exhibition Buildings where the was a hotrod display happening, both inside and outside the building. Forty odd poofs and dykes mixing with hotrodders seemed somehow inappropriate. The Exhibition Building has a history of connection with the gay and lesbian community (I hate that last phrase), as does the Carlton Gardens where the Exhibition Buildings are located.

We moved in westerly direction and I not going to retell the walk, but here is where we stopped along the way.

Stop 1 Kangaroo Fountain
Stop 2 Exhibition Buildings
Stop 3 Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (Rathdowne St)
Stop 4 Society Five (Queensberry St)
Stop 5 Australian Union of Students (Drummond St)
Stop 6 Christ's Community Church (Queensberry St)
Stop 7 Dover Hotel and Trades Hall (Lygon St)
Stop 8 Draculas, aka Cactus Club and Vegas and Open Leaves Bookshop (Cardigan St)
Stop 9 Pissoir (Queensberry St)
Stop 10 Bouverie Theatre and Social Biology Resources Centre (Bouverie St)
Stop 11 Anglers Club (Queensberry St)
Stop 12 University of Melbourne Law School (Pelham St), Graduate House (Leicester St)
Cyril's Tearooms, Cheeks and Gresham Hotel (Elizabeth St)
Stop 13 University of Melbourne (University Square).

All of the above have some connection to the gay and lesbian history of Melbourne.


  1. Anonymous6:22 pm

    Lucky for you it was today and not yesterday (otherwise I doubt you would have made it past the first pub). Just wondering what link the kangaroo fountain had ... I spent hours researching the thing last year for one of my walks.


    PS: Mind you, three hours to walk from Nicholson St to the uni is a VERY leisurely pace.

  2. At the point the kangaroo was been talked about, a hotrod entered the area and I missed, but I don't think there was any real significance.

    There was more stopping under large trees and listening than walking. Last year, the St Kilda one, it was very hot.

  3. Of course Walker the fountain is almost opposite the old cable tram engine house on the corner of Gertrude St, but I am sure you know that.

  4. Sounds fascinating. What about the Hellfire Club, scene of the infamous police raid in the early 90s?

    I saw a doco on gay undercurrents in mainstream cinema, on ABC about five yeasr ago. Gore vidal had scripted Ben-Hur and wrote the relationship between Charlton Heston (Ben) & Stephen Boyd (Mesala) as if they had been lovers. All these years, I'd just assumed it was over-acting!

  5. I did not know the Hellfire Club was raided. You don't mean Tasty nightlub? It is now a normal nightclub and it was originally the Anglers Club, Stop 11.

  6. The Archives are a great resource and those volunteers do a wonderful job.
    We used to do a GLBT "on this day" on our show on Joy but Aussie/Melb info was difficult to source,used to spend days online searching for each segment lol.

  7. They do a very worthy job Jayne. It could all be so easily lost.

    I liked the old Joy better. I rarely listen now.