Prelude to the 40th Mardi Gras Parade that was ……

Images from the 40th Anniversary Parade of the Sydney Mardi Gras, March 2018

Well this is more a prelude to the 40th Mardi Gras Parade that was last weekend.

I haven’t been to a Mardi Gras Parade for years. Then it was possible to rock up and hang out as the floats and the parade came together…this and post the parade have always been my favourites times to shoot.

I decided to go on a wim because the 78ers and the 40th anniversary… so didn’t get a press pass this meant really the only place I could shoot was the crowd gathering along Oxford Street….so here is a bit of a taste of the build up.

I don’t think it really matters where you are for the Mardi Gras there is so much going on and it is an awesome event to visit…

This is about the 78ers ..

“Saturday 24 June, 1978. It was late and a chill was settling in over Sydney. At around 10pm, a small crowd began to gather in Taylor Square rugged up against the cold – it had been a big day. To coincide with the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, a morning street march and public meeting had been held. Those gathered were now primed for the Mardi Gras street festival.

The bars and cafes on Oxford Street were bustling with late night crowds waiting to see what the night would bring. Often that meant heading to one of three key openly gay venues, in particular Cappriccio’s, which was nearby. However, this Saturday night was very different.

As 11pm approached, a throng of people – some walking, some dancing, a few even skipping – marched down towards Hyde Park. Chants of “Out of the bars and into the streets” joined the sound of gay liberation anthems ‘Glad to be Gay’ and ‘Ode to a Gym Teacher’ emanating from the small sound system on the back of a single flat-bed truck, driven by Lance Gowland.

The NSW Police, however, were not in such a joyous mood. Despite the issuing of a permit for the march, the police began to usher the revellers down the street. When the marchers reached Hyde Park, the police confiscated the truck and sound system.

The crowd began to move towards Kings Cross. Once there the police swooped in, blocking the dispersing crowd and throwing people into paddy-wagons. The crowd fought back and 53 were subsequently charged at Darlinghurst police station.”

So sorry to have missed Cher tho…….

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