Our History

The Foundation of AQuA

Between 1975 and 1978 there was a growing recognition among several individuals, some acting independently, some acquainted through gay activism, that the records of the local gay movement were valuable and needed to be well cared for. They took the first steps to create an archive of the record of the lives, achievements and struggles of the Australian LGBTIQ+ community.

From 1975, National Homosexual Conferences were held annually in different Australian cities.  They had no binding powers but were the closest thing the movement then had to a democratic forum for airing issues about homosexual politics. The idea of creating an archive of gay liberation material was discussed at the 2nd conference in 1976 and again at the 3rd in 1977. The conferences provided the opportunity for individuals like Liz Ross, Robert French, Gary Jaynes, Di Minnis, Craig Johnston and especially Graham Carbery to share their expertise, enthusiasm and nascent collections.

On Sunday 27 August 1978 at the Fourth National Homosexual Conference in Sydney, Graham Carbery presented a one page document, “A proposal for an Australian Gay Archives” at a morning workshop.  A motion was submitted to the final plenary session of the Conference and a resolution to formally establish the Australian Gay Archives was adopted.

Since then the Archives has flourished and innumerable people and organisations have provided support by donating space, time and funds to provide a safe place for organisations and individuals to lodge the abundance of material that documents the history of the Australian LGBTIQ+ movement.

The following timeline highlights milestones in the archives’ own history.