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.

Cover of book 'Secret histories of queer Melbourne'

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.

Secret histories of queer Melbourne can be found in the Library’s La Trobe Reading Room at call number LT 306.766099451 SE2W.



This article has 1 comment

  1. This is a fantastic book, I’ve got a copy and regularly dip into it to sample the very readible essays from ‘gay’ bushrangers to the Tasty Nightclub Raid. The book is based on ALGAs annual history walks across inner Melbourne, so all the articles are geographically located around Melbourne and can be visited and walked from site to site.

    I purchased my copy through the ALGA website here: I also purchase the copiously footnoted and indexed ‘Living out loud’ from ALGA here:

    ALGA are a fantastic national institution based right here in Melbourne, for more information about ALGA, or to join, volunteer or donate, see:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *