The Start of South Australia’s Proud History

This week is an auspicious week for Adelaide’s queer community. Many people know that September 15th was the date of Adelaide’s first gay pride march, but did you know that was the culmination of an entire week of gay pride events held around the country?

What was Gay Pride Week?

Gay Pride Week 1973 was a week of events held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Events included memorials, orations, celebrations and press conferences, culminating in the march taking place across the country on the Friday and Saturday. All of this in a time where many gay people were regularly harassed and male homosexuality was still criminalised in South Australia.

The week’s events were initially proposed by Sydney Gay Liberation and was enthusiastically taken up by groups in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. The week aimed to “change the mind of the prejudiced, the fearful, the conditioned, the sexually repressed, all those who in oppressing us oppress themselves.”

The targets of the protest weren’t a short list. They included “all the institutions of our oppression: the police courts, job discrimination, the bigoted churchmen and politicians, the media, the psychiatrists, the aversion therapists, the military, the schools, the universities, the work-places”.

The Adelaide schedule for the 1973 Gay Pride Week

The schedules for all of the Gay Pride Week events, along with a rousing rationale for why a gay pride week was so desperately needed, was printed in the September 4th issue of Tharunka.

Tharunka is a student magazine published at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Tharunka was established in 1953 (and still running today) at the then New South Wales University of Technology.

You can see the full-page promotion through Trove.

Adelaide’s Pride March

Adelaide’s parade began in Victoria Square and proceeded up King William. The revellers travelled down Grenfell, then looped up Pulteney and back down Rundle Street (soon to be Rundle Mall) before heading back up King William to Elder Park.

The march itself was made up of revellers with pink and black balloons, some carrying banners and wearing pink triangles. As they marched, a single chant rang out from the crowd…

Two four six eight gay is just a good as straight
Three five seven nine try it our way just one time!
One in twenty of you is one of us.

The nationwide events did their job, as the press paid attention and articles popped up discussing the gay liberation issue.

If you want to read more about Adelaide’s events, the reactions from the press, and the events in other states, check out these links…






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