The first Mardi Gras: 40 years on

Forty years on, we’re still arguing about what happened at the first Mardi Gras. Who was there and what were they trying to do? Why did 53 of them end up in the Darlo clink? Why do they still expect apologies?

John Witte and Gavin Harris claim that when the cops confiscated their flat back, the revellers repeated defied their directions. Then when Inspector Millar told his men that the revellers were taking part in an unauthorised procession, the heavy-handed cops went for it. Read the evidence and have your say.

What happened at Sydney’s first Mardi Gras?
1. What was gay and lesbian Sydney like in 1978?
2. Who organized the first Mardi Gras?
3. Why did the activists organize a Saturday night street party?
4. Where did the idea come from?
5. Was it a demonstration, march or parade?
6. Why was the authorized route so short?
7. Did the organizers provoke the police?
8. Who got arrested and what did they get charged with?
9. Why did the Sydney Morning Herald publish their names, ages, addresses and occupations?
10. Were the police using the Mardi Gras to embarrass the Labor government?
11. Did people lose their jobs?
12. Did people get hurt?
13. Were the police out of control?
14. What impact did Mardi Gras ’78 have on Sydney’s gay and lesbian life?
15. Did the police drop the charges?
16. What role did Rupert Murdoch play in our story?
17. Can we say that Mardi Gras ’78 was Sydney’s Stonewall?