About The Project

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About The Murders

From the late 1970s through to the early 1990s, more than 80 gay men disappeared or were murdered in NSW, many at coastal parks in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, along with hundreds of assaults serious enough to require hospitalisation as well as thousands of violent incidents targeting gay men.

Many of these deaths and disappearances were misclassified as suicides, misadventure or accidents at the time and almost 30 remain unsolved. None were treated seriously as gay hate crimes and very few perpetrators have ever been charged.

In 2005, a coronial inquest into some of these cases concluded that the deaths were probably hate crimes. NSW Police have subsequently commenced a review of their investigations and have reopened several cases.

This aspect of Sydney’s recent history has been largely erased from public consciousness due in large part to the discrimination experienced by gay men at the time, which resulted in little interest among relevant authorities and the media.

Much has changed since the late 1980’s and it is important for the community at large to be able to both acknowledge the shameful acts of the past and to celebrate and promote diversity.

Anyone with information that may assist police with their investigations are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or contact ACON on (02) 9206 2032 or matkinson@acon.org.au

For comprehensive information about the murders, visit SBS’s The Gay Hate Decades website: www.sbs.com.au/gayhatedecades

 

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About The Memorial

A permanent public memorial in Hunter Park aims to provide a memorial to the deaths of these men, to help acknowledge and heal the significant community trauma caused by these events, to raise greater community awareness of this issue and to promote the continuing need for relevant information to be brought to police attention.

Hunter Park is the most appropriate location for such a memorial, both in Waverley Municipality, and Sydney more generally. It is located close to where the sites of many attacks and murders that took place and additionally it is the designated memorial space for Waverley Council, with a number sculpture based memorials adorning the existing parkland.

It is envisaged that the memorial and associated design will be based on the following principles: 

  • Remembrance – remembrance of the victims of the gay hate crimes in the coastal parks in Sydney’s eastern suburbs
  • Diversity – acknowledgement of the diversity of the eastern suburbs area, including its prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community.
  • Inclusion – recognition of the social inclusion of groups who have been historically marginalised in the area, such as gay men.
  • Justice – justice for the victims, their friends, families and communities.
  • Acceptance – acceptance of the area’s complex history as the site in which the crimes took place.

Following a period of consultation with all relevant stakeholders – including victims’ families and friends, local residents, and LGBTI community members – a memorial will be commissioned, built and dedicated.

More details of the consultation and commissioning process will be made available in the near future.  

 

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About ACON

We’re a NSW-based health promotion organisation specialising in HIV prevention, HIV support and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) health.

Established in 1985 as the AIDS Council of NSW, we’re here to end HIV transmission among gay and same sex attracted men, and promote the lifelong health of LGBTI people and people with HIV.

Our head office is in Sydney, we have offices in five regional locations and we provide services throughout NSW.

We have a strong commitment to the safety of our community and provide a range of support and advocacy services that help improve the security and safety of LGBTI people and their families.  

We also provide a range of services related to mental health, care coordination and referral support for LGBTI people and those affected by HIV. For any community members or victims’ loved ones who may be experiencing distress related these historical gay hate crimes, we can provide counselling. To make an inquiry please call (02) 9206 2000 or visit www.acon.org.au

Honour the past, celebrate the present, create an inclusive future!