6. Why was the authorized route so short?

The Summary Offences Act obliged the organizers to apply for a permit, stating their route. They applied to go down Oxford Street, along Liverpool Street and pass the George Street cinemas before ending up in Hyde Park. Gowland and Chuck tried to negotiate with the College Street Police Headquarters but they wouldn’t listen. Dated 21 June, the permit said they could begin east of Taylor Square and end at Liverpool Street, next to Hyde Park – a mere 600 metres.

Copy of the permit signed by Roy Hyde, Assistant Commissioner (Page 1)
Pride History Group collection
Copy of the permit signed by Roy Hyde, Assistant Commissioner (Page 2)
Pride History Group collection

The permit told them to turn into Riley Street, go as far as Campbell Street and then, back track to Oxford. However, Gowland went straight down Oxford. The duty police did not direct him into Riley Street. They had just seen the permit and, even if they read this detail, they didn’t (or couldn’t) do anything about it. They wanted to get them off the roads as soon as possible.

Wanting to control the Saturday night traffic and not understanding the spirit of the parade, Head Office had forced the organizers to stage a very restrictive event which hyped people up and left them with no way to dissipate their energy.

Authors: Gavin Harris and John Witte.

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