Midwinter Update

“I was in Sweden once, and it was minus twenty three, and I don’t think I was this cold”, I whispered into the ear of a friend. She has also been to Sweden and knew exactly what I meant, as we stood on the Bondi headland, as the icy winds and rain combined.

In some respects, today’s weather conditions further helped to bring to life the story of the murder of Ross Warren. Ross was probably the most well-known of the many men who were bashed to death, or thrown off the headland during the 1990s. Though his body has never been found, we were reminded today it was an icy cold mid-winter night in July 1990 when he went missing.

Bondi Coastal Walk
Bondi Coastal Walk

The 1990s seems to have been a peak period for gay hate crime in Sydney, with a number of “gay bashing gangs” operating throughout the city.

Though it’s thirty years ago, I still remember quite strongly, the first time I met Ross. He worked as a cameraman at Channel 8 in my hometown of Lismore. I would often see him around the city, and in particular, around Channel 8, which is where the community radio station I volunteered at, during my teenage years was based. I was very excited when I discovered the hot-looking cameraman from Channel 8 was actually gay.

Though he was the most “famous” of all those killed, he was only one of an estimated eighty-eight gay-hate-crime-related deaths.

Today I participated in a “walking tour” covering these deaths.

Delivered by Greg Callaghan, author of the true crime novel Bondi Badlands, the tour provides a detailed insight into the lives of four gay men who sadly went missing or lost their lives nearby Marks Park, Bondi.

Intended to raise awareness and contribute to community healing, the tour explores local and LGBTIQ history and sheds light on the circumstances that gave rise to the wave of violence during the 1980’s and 1990’s and pays respect to the many lives impacted

There were moments on the tour which were upsetting, especially the brutality of the crimes. It was awesome to have this called out early in the piece, and for the offer of counselling and support, in case it brought up "issues".
There were moments on the tour which were upsetting, especially the brutality of the crimes. It was awesome to have this called out early in the piece, and for the offer of counselling and support, in case it brought up “issues”.

Despite the weather, I’d highly recommend this excellent walking tour led by Greg, and by Michael from ACON (the AIDS Council of NSW).

Bondi Coastal Walk
Bondi Coastal Walk

And wouldn’t you believe it, with cold weather, at the peak of mid-winter, my thirty year old heater has stopped working. I think I was in Wagga Wagga when I bought it, and it’s helped me through many winters since. But here it is, Saturday night, and I’m sitting in the lounge room with track-pants, a sloppy joe, and doona wrapped around me. The glamorous life!

But that’s not too bad, it’s been a busy week.

When my friend Sue sent me a text, asking if I would like to see Megan Hilty perform at the Sydney Opera House, right away I said yes.

“Who?”, you ask. Would it help if I mentioned Megan played the role of Ivy in the terrific series, “Smash”? Set in New York, the series was about about a planned, albeit il-fated musical on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Though the odds were seemingly against her for much of the series, Ivy eventually gained the role.

Megan herself seems to be “Broadway” through and through also. During her Monday night show, she talked about how she had always wanted to an actor and performer. Over about 90 minutes, she sang a combination of well-known and less well-known songs from musical theatre.

And what a voice! Though she had amplification, she could probably have filled the Concert Hall without it. Awesome show.

Megan Hilty plays Sydney Opera House
Megan Hilty plays Sydney Opera House

This week, Sue and I also went to see a play called, “Closer”, put on by final year students at NIDA, the National Institute of Dramatic Art. The play, set in New York, focuses on the intermingling lives of four people, and their complex personal relationships.

I really like going to see the final year productions by NIDA students, as it’s always interesting to see emerging talent, and wondering who will be “the next big thing”.

2 Replies to “Midwinter Update”

  1. There isn’t inbuilt heating! So Sydney. I think the NSW and our Victoria police were let off a leash in the 90s and neglected crime investigation, especially in the area you mention. Far busier setting up raids on gay venues.

  2. We really only need heating for a couple of weeks each year. As I’m spending a few weeks in Darwin in July/August. I’ve decided to hold off on purchasing a new heater until later in the year, for when the sales are on, and I’ll be needing it for next winter. In the meantime, I’m happy with my doona!! And yes, the words used often in yesterday’s talk to describe the police investigations were “sloppy” and “lazy”.

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