Queer Connections: Celebrating LGBTIQA+ history in Port Phillip

Doug Lucas (centre) and the cast of Pokeys in costume, Prince of Wales Hotel, St Kilda, c.1980s, courtesy of the Australian Queer Archives

In association with the Australian Queer Archives

Originally Melbourne's favourite seaside resort and playground, in the mid-20th century St Kilda transformed from a haven for the wealthy, to a significant place for those marginalised by mainstream society, including those who identify as LGBTIQA+. Over time the area has been the site for a variety of different venues, events and activities that have provided meaning and acceptance for such communities.

Important examples include the Prince of Wales, the St Kilda Sea Baths, and the Palace de Dance, which were some of the earliest venues regularly frequented by the LGBTIQA+ community. From the early 1920s until the 1990s annual Arts Balls encouraged experimentation through performance, fashion, costume and dance The early 1970s saw a proliferation of LGBTIQA+ social clubs, cafes, and special nights. Venues such as Mandate in Carlisle Street, which operated throughout the 1980s was one of the earliest to advertise itself as gay owned and gay staffed. While more recently St Kilda has been the site for the annual Pride March and is now home to the Victorian Pride Centre.

In celebration of this ongoing contribution the City of Port Phillip, in conjunction with The Australian Queer Archives and Queer-ways, presents an imaginary evening through time across some of its most iconic venues. From a night out at the Palace de Dance of the early 1920s to the Prince of Wales legendary Pokies and Pennies of the 1970s, come and explore the personalities, trailblazers, entertainers, issues, glamour and humour that exemplify the pride of Port Phillip's LGBTIQA+ community.

Exhibition dates: 2 February - 26 April 2024
The Carlisle Street Arts Space is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm (Closed Public Holidays).

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Event & ticketing details


Wheelchair Access
Vision Rating 100%

Dates & Times

EXHIBITION Fri 2 Feb-Fri 26 Apr | Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm


FREE This event is free, no booking required


Carlisle Street Arts Space

St Kilda Town Hall, 99A Carlisle St, St Kilda

Get directions


Sandringham line to Balaclava


3, 16 to stop 36 (St Kilda Town Hall) | tram 67 to stop 35 (Carlisle St/St Kilda Rd) | tram 78 to stop 37 (Carlisle St/Chapel St)

Event notes


Nudity, Parental guidance recommended

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