The Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives collection is the biggest repository of historical materials about lesbian and gay experience in Australia.
The collection is based at Thorne Harbour Health (formerly the Victorian AIDS Council) in the City of Melbourne.
If you’d like to visit the Archives to use our collection, please read the important information about planning your visit.
Our collection policy (pdf) tells you more about what we collect.
There are 1834 titles (over 45,000 items) in our periodicals collection. It includes newspapers, magazines and newsletters from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Indonesia and Japan. The Ladder and Physique magazines are on display, while William and John and the Star Observer have been microfiched by the State Library of New South Wales.
- Our periodicals list (pdf, 719 KB), 2015 edition, ver 1 at 29 December 2015.
- Can you fill any gaps in our collection?
- We welcome feedback on our list through our comments form (pdf) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indexes to some of our periodicals are available for reference at the Archives: see our list of indexed titles (pdf). Recent additions include Lesbian News (Melbourne, 1983-90), plus additional issues of Campaign (1980), Libertine (nos 1-7, 1980) and Lesbians on the Loose (issues 1-16, 25-29 and all issues in 1998-99).
- Our chronology of periodicals titles (pdf) shows the publishing history of key newspapers, newsletters and magazines.
Tapes dating back to mid 1950s, radio broadcasts, conferences, speeches at public meetings and demonstrations, interviews on all types of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues … if it has been said and recorded, there is a chance we might have it.
Feature films, documentaries, safe sex / sex education videos/films, daytime talk shows, music video clips, etc. Titles include:
- The Set, movie (Australia, prod. Frank Brittain, 1969) – the first ‘gay’ movie to be made in Australia
- Number 96, television series (Australia, 1972-1977) – Australia’s first supersoap, and the first to feature a gay character; we hold 5 episodes as a sample of the series
Requested videos can be viewed at the Archives – please contact us, allowing a week’s notice.
Like the other collections in the Archives, our videos are available for reference, but not for loan.
ALGA does not own copyright in much of the audio-visual material in the collection. Researchers wishing to reproduce audio-visual material will need to obtain permission from the copyright owners.
Over 1100 items: see our listing (pdf, 1059 KB), prepared by the late Kym Makkaan.
Theses and research papers
A selection of honours, masters and PhD theses, along with a small collection of other academic research and policy papers. Listing (pdf, 118 KB)
Theses on GLBTI topics can also be found through the National Library’s Trove website.
We also hold a listing of papers delivered at the Australian Homosexual Histories conferences (pdf, 94KB). The Archives initiated the annual Australian Homosexual Histories conference series in 1998. The list here is a summary of papers and presentations at the conferences, with indications of whether we hold a copy, and if published, where. We would welcome receiving copies of papers not currently held – please contact us. We’re grateful to Anton for preparing the list as a volunteer project.
Over 40,000, chronologically ordered, Australia-wide, down to 2003.
The 2010 edition of our annotated list of editorials in Australian newspapers related to homosexuality (pdf, 79 KB) spans the years 1913 to 1991. Most of the 395 editorials listed are available in our clippings collection.
Selected newspapers down to 1954 can be searched and viewed through the National Library’s Trove website.
Over 2000 files from individuals and groups, covering venues, events, flyers, leaflets, postcards, theatre programs and more. Subject listing (pdf, 166 KB)
Over 5500 titles, fiction and nonfiction.
- See our listing (pdf, 1365 KB).
- We also have a wishlist of books we’d like to acquire. If you’d like to help us by donating a copy or sponsoring a purchase, please contact us. We’re very grateful to our donors for helping us build our collection.
Like the other collections in the Archives, books are available for reference, but not for loan. If you’re looking to borrow a title in our collection, you may be able to find a copy in the National Library’s Trove database. It lists public library holdings across Australia. Many are available for inter-library loan.
Our collection of articles (over 1200 at present) are mostly copies of published articles from periodicals or chapters from books that we don’t otherwise hold.
- See our listing (pdf, 483 KB).
We also have significant groups of articles in some of our manuscript collections. For example, the papers of Ken Sinclair (1927-2005) include over 300 articles arising from his work, as priest and researcher, on the Catholic Church and homosexuality, on pastoral care by the Catholic Church for people with HIV/AIDS, and on HIV/AIDS in general. The papers of Ian Goller (1943-1993) include about 250 articles relating to his work as a researcher and educator in the community response to HIV/AIDS in Australia, through the Victorian AIDS Action Committee (later Victorian AIDS Council / Gay Men’s Health Center) and the Victorian Health Department. Guides to both of these collections are available for use by researchers at the Archives.
Highlights include the records of Society Five (Melbourne’s first gay rights organisation), the National Homosexual Conferences of the 1970s and 1980s, and the Homosexual Law Reform Coalition (1975-80).
We also hold copies of the Greg Weir papers at the National Library of Australia, the scrapbooks of Monte Punshon from the 1920s and 1930s, Tommy McDermott’s photos of camp life in Melbourne from the 1940s to the 1960s, papers of poet Lyn Palmer, and the scrapbook of the organisers of the Australasian Lesbian Movement in 1970-72, among other collections.
- Digitised scrapbooks from our collection, on Issuu.
Badges, banners and t-shirts
Our list of calendars (pdf, 52 KB)
Our lesbian and gay guides and directories (listing, pdf) chart the growth and diversity of Australian GLBTI community groups, businesses and travel from the 1970s to the present day.
Our list of theatre programs (pdf, 182 KB), including our collection of productions by Robert Chuter (last three pages).
- Lucy Chesser’s Bibliography of Australian Lesbian History (pdf, 134KB)
- Pre-history of the Australian Gay Archives, by Graham Carbery (pdf, 22KB)
- Towards Homosexual Equality in Australian Criminal Law: A Brief History, by Graham Carbery (pdf, 226KB)
- Our listing of Editorials in Australian Newspapers Related to Homosexuality, 1913-91 (pdf, 79KB)
- Australian Lesbian and Gay History: A Bibliography 1999 (pdf, 71KB)
- Peopling the Empty Mirror: The Prospects for Lesbian and Gay Aboriginal History by Wendy Dunn/Holland and others, 1994 (pdf, 4.9MB)