The newly elected Labor government of New South Wales (NSW) has revealed the permanent location for Sydney’s LGBTQI museum, Qtopia – the old Darlinghurst Police Station.
This historic site, located at the intersection of Forbes and Bourke Streets, holds immense importance for Sydney’s queer community, with the Darlinghurst Police Station playing a notorious role in the harassment and persecution of the city’s LGBTQI population, including the 78ers.
However, the site will be transformed into a space celebrating LGBTQ+ history and resilience.
“A year ago, Ian Roberts came to me with an idea – to create Australia’s first Pride museum,” NSW Premier Chris Minns wrote on Twitter.
In February 2023, the previous government recognised the historical significance of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade route on Oxford Street, as well as the Darlinghurst police station, by adding them to the NSW State Heritage Register. Both the NSW Liberals and Labor pledged, before the state elections, to permanently house Qtopia at the former Darlinghurst Police Station if elected. NSW Labor has committed to investing $3.85 million towards the project.
The plan outlined in the document allows the NSW Government and Create NSW to retain the site. At the same time, Qtopia takes possession and carries out refurbishments, transforming it into a space for permanent and temporary exhibitions celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. Qtopia Sydney say the refurbishments will be done in a way that memorialises the struggles and achievements of the LGBTQIA+ community while also being a place of respect and inclusion for all.
Qtopia Sydney, the group campaigning for a queer museum in Sydney in time for WorldPride 2023, had expressed its preference for the old Darlinghurst Police Station as the museum’s location. According to Dr Christopher Neff, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Sydney, the police station’s closure included an exorcism of the building by the Sisters of the Perpetual Indulgence.
Out gay Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich welcomed the Premier’s announcement: “It’s great to see the new Labor Government delivering on their commitments to the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Qtopia officially opened on February 17, 2023, ahead of Sydney WorldPride, with exhibitions at two temporary venues – the Green Park Bandstand and the Red Room at the National Art School.
Last Updated on Apr 19, 2023