This new publication from the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives is an eye-opening and immensely readable introduction to Melbourne’s queer scenes, both private and public.
Based on a walking tour offered by the Archives, it covers everything from beats to bushrangers, and drag kings to gay rights.
Spanning the 1880s to 1980s, the book’s focus is the city of Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, with handy maps pinpointing key locations. Each topic is presented as a mini-essay liberally illustrated with archival images and newspaper clippings, which bring this once subterranean history to life.
Secret histories is best suited to casual reading, due to the scarcity of footnotes and absence of an index. If you would like to read more about Victoria’s queer histories, try Queen City of the South: gay and lesbian Melbourne, a special issue of the Library’s La Trobe Journal which can be read online, or the book Living out loud: a history of gay and lesbian activism in Australia.