City of Sydney councillor Lyndon Gannon (right) met with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard (third from left) to discuss placing a LGBTIQA+ museum at the former Darlinghurst Police Station. Photo: Lyndon Gannon.
Plans for an LGBTIQA+ museum at the site of the former Darlinghurst Police Station have been put in motion after City of Sydney councillors voted in favour of a grant worth nearly $300,000 for the project.
This follows a proposal put forward in April by Qtopia, an organisation devoted to creating a space that will “protect, respect, and extend the equality of future LGBTQIA+ lives”.
Council agreed unanimously to provide Qtopia an ad hoc grant worth $283,500, said to cover museum start-up costs, key staff, and operation for a period of at least one year, as well as include a presence during Sydney WorldPride next year.
The motion was pushed by Liberal councillor Lyndon Gannon, who set up a petition with over 150 signatures in support of using the old Darlinghurst police station for the museum.
“Its history, location, and the fact that it is publicly owned make it the most suitable site. It will also enable the long-term transformation of Taylor Square, which as we all know can be, and should be the beating heart of culture in our city.”
The building is used for administrative offices by NSW Health, but Cr Gannon and Qtopia representatives met with Health Minister Brad Hazzard last week to discuss plans for transforming the building into a museum, with Cr Gannon telling City Hub that the meeting was “constructive”.
“It came to the table, and he thought it was a great idea and he’s asked for his department to investigate the feasibility of it because there is the issue of relocating 50 admin staff from that site elsewhere especially if we’re going to do it in time for World Pride.”
Grant for LGBTIQA+ museum comes with separate funding for World Pride
The City also approved plans to provide a $650,000 grant for Sydney WorldPride 2023 last week.
The sponsorship to Sydney WorldPride Limited – a not-for-profit organisation responsible for the delivery of WorldPride 2023 – was agreed upon unanimously to support the pre-event planning and production of the event, which seeks to promote LGBTQ issues on an international stage.
The grant would come in the form of value-in-kind support which offers access to the City’s assets and services.
This follows a successful bid in 2019 where council provided $50,000 in support of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Ltd to host WorldPride 2023, and also approved another $250,000 to establish Sydney WorldPride Limited.
Council also approved $500,000 in 2021 to Sydney WorldPride Limited for further planning and delivery.
In 2016, the NSW government offered an apology to participants in Sydney’s first-ever Mardi Gras, who were arrested and assaulted by police in 1978. Some protestors were taken to the Darlinghurst Police Station, where they were exposed to further brutality.