A Sydney protest march in the late 1970s with young people walking under a banner that reads 'Stop police attacks on gays, women and blacks!'
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/article/hero_image02-2018/witches_hero_1.jpg

The first Sydney Mardi Gras

NFSA Restores: Witches and Faggots, Dykes and Poofters
BY
 Stephen Groenewegen

In 2018, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is celebrating its 40th anniversary, culminating in the annual parade and party on 3 March.

The first Mardi Gras took place in very different circumstances. In 1978, homosexuality was a criminal offence in NSW and the march by gay rights activist on 24 June that year met strong police opposition and resulted in 53 marchers being arrested.

Now digitally restored by our NFSA Restores program is the documentary Witches and Faggots, Dykes and Poofters (One in Seven Collective, produced by Digby Duncan, 1980). It gives a near contemporary history of the events surrounding the first march by 'the 78ers' including the subsequent arrests:

Clip from NFSA Restores: Witches, Faggots, Dykes and Poofters (One in Seven Collective, produced by Digby Duncan, 1980). NFSA: 41124

The documentary gives context to the gay rights movement of the time through contemporary interviews with the 78ers and others fighting for equality. In this clip, a lesbian activist talks about how important it is to own terms of abuse like dykes and poofters and make them terms of pride instead:

Clip from NFSA Restores: Witches, Faggots, Dykes and Poofters (One in Seven Collective, produced by Digby Duncan, 1980). NFSA: 41124

In 2018, NFSA Restores: Witches and Faggots, Dykes and Poofters screened at the 25th Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival in Sydney, Brisbane's Queer Film Festival and at the NFSA's Arc cinema in Canberra.