ALGA conduct a couple of history walks every year. For the first time, today we went on one of these walks. It was 11am and the meeting place was outside Luna Park in St Kilda and so necessitated a tram trip on Sunday morning to St Kilda. We forced our way onto the tram, but many did not and were left sprinkled along St Kilda Road.
Our group visited various locations around a 2.5 kilometre long walk, pausing every so often for a talk, and while I knew much, there was some I did not.
Something that I should have worked out but never really thought about, was the development of flats from the 1920s on. Until then the only options for gays and lesbians were living at home with parents, intolerable, living in boarding houses under the strong gaze of the owner (no hanky panky tolerated in my establishment) or the fairly unaffordable option of buying their own house.
Suddenly, they could rent their own flat and have an amount of privacy and freedom they could only have dreamt about.
Ok, ok. I'll give you another. Tai Ping restaurant at St Kilda Junction (I think the one that is now closed but survived for a long time on the income from a huge billboard) was a regular meeting place for gays and lesbians to sit around drinking coffee. At meal times they would drift upstairs to allow diners tables to eat at and thus allow the owner to make money, and then after meals, they would come back down and drink more coffee. Around the corner in Wellington Street was El Sombrero where lesbians, gays, prostitutes and crims gathered. There is even an ASIO (=FBI or MI5 or Mossad) file on El Sombrero. Lesbians sat in the front window keeping nit for anyone with a police or armed forces haircut or demeanor and with a yell from one of them, the place would clear out a back entrance in a flash.
Yeah, it was all very interesting.