As we head into Mardi Gras season in Sydney, and in particular the fortieth anniversary (though strictly speaking, it’s half way through the year), I thought I’d re-share an earlier post from 2016.
I recently had an email from someone interested in the oral history project I had been involved in back in 1998, celebrating twenty years since the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Although I have a copy somewhere in my extensive CD collection, I needed to touch base with my friends Glen and Greig who had been instrumental in putting the project together. They came up with the idea, they found the talent, and they made it happen. All I did was chat with a few people, and hopefully got them to tell their stories as well as they could, and create the audio. The premise for the project was simple: for Sydney Pride Centre, we would get together a bunch of people who had participated in the first Mardi Gras and ask them to tell their stories.
I remember at the time of doing the interviews of being in awe of these people who had quite simply participated in something quite amazing, but who hadn’t really thought of it in those terms at the time. The aim of the project was to document in some way the experience of the many “ordinary people” who had taken part in the first parade and protest.
Thankfully Glen and Greig were able to find the original audio files, and so to make these more widely, here they are, hopefully never to be lost again.