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Coding Desire: The Emergence of a Homosexual Subculture in Queensland, 1890–1914

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2016

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Extract

Dropsy is a puff. It is not the first time he has done it. I can bring a witness who will swear that he got ten bob from a black fellow that stuffed him. I knew what he wanted when he went up the stairs so I followed him … there are plenty of others in Brisbane who do it besides us mob, so I am not the first.

Conversation between Albert McNamara and Police Constable Lipp, Brisbane, 1905

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 

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References

Notes

1 R v Albert McNamara and William Guilfoyle, in Briefs, Depositions and Associated Papers in Criminal Cases Heard, 1 November 1905 to 30 November 1905, Queensland State Archives (hereafter QSA), SCT/CC173.

2 Hughes, Robert, The Fatal Shore: A History of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia, 1787–1868 (London: Collins Harvill, 1987); Joy Damousi, Depraved and Disorderly: Female Convicts, Sexuality and Gender in Colonial Australia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

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3 The most pertinent work on the formation of homosexual identity and subculture in Australia between the end of convictism and the rise of modern homosexual subculture includes: Clive Moore, Sunshine and Rainbows: The Development of Gay and Lesbian Culture in Queensland (St Lucia: University of Queensland Press in association with the API Network, 2001), esp. 25–89; Clive Moore, ‘Just Mates? Masculinity and Sexuality’ (unpublished manuscript, 2003), 1–17; Clive Moore and Bryan Jamison, ‘Making the Modern Australian Homosexual Male: Queensland's Criminal Justice System and Homosexual Offences, 1860–1954’, Crime, History & Societies 11(1) (2007): 27–54; Robert French, Camping by a Billabong: Gay and Lesbian Stories from Australian History (Sydney: Blackwattle Press, 1993); Clive Moore, ‘The Frontier Makes Strange Bedfellows: Masculinity, Mateship and Homosexuality in Colonial Queensland’, in Garry Wotherspoon, ed., Gay and Lesbian Perspectives III: Essays in Australian Culture (Sydney: Department of Economic History with The Australian Centre for Gay and Lesbian Research, University of Sydney, 1996), 17–44; Clive Moore, ‘That Abominable Crime: First Steps Towards a Social History of Male Homosexuals in Colonial Queensland, 1859–1900’, in Robert Aldrich, ed., Gay Perspectives II: More Essays in Australian Gay Culture (Sydney: Department of Economic History with the Australian Centre for Gay and Lesbian Research, University of Sydney Press, 1994), 115–18; Bruce Baskerville, ‘“;Agreed to Without Debate”: Silencing Sodomy in Colonial Western Australia, 1870–1905’, in Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds, Gay and Lesbian Perspectives IV: Studies in Australian Culture (Sydney: Department of Economic History with The Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research, University of Sydney, 1998), 95–115; Walter J. Fogarty, ‘“;Certain Habits”: The Development of a Concept of the Male Homosexual in New South Wales Law, 1788–1900’, in Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds, Gay Perspectives: Essays in Australian Gay Culture (Sydney: Department of Economic History, University of Sydney, 1992), 59–76; Adam Carr, ‘Policing the “Abominable Crime” in Nineteenth Century Victoria’, in David L. Philips and Graham Willett, eds, Australia's Homosexual Histories: Gay and Lesbian Perspectives 5 (Melbourne: Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research and the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 2000), 27–10; Anne-Marie Collins, Women and Policing: Uncertain Histories, PhD thesis, Griffith University, 1997.

4 See for example, Wotherspoon, Garry, City of the Plain: History of a Gay Subculture (Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1994); Willett, Graham, Living Out Loud: A History of Gay and Lesbian Activism in Australia (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2000); Hodge, Dino, Did You Meet Any Malagas? A Homosexual History of Australia's Tropical Capital (Night Cliff, NT: Little Gem Publications, 1993); Reynolds, Robert, From Camp to Queer: Remaking the Australian Homosexual (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2002).

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5 For the purpose of this paper, a definitive charge is one that has been positively ascertained as relating to male-to-male sexual behaviour (as opposed to charges of bestiality or heterosexual sodomy). The charges have been calculated from information contained in the Register of Criminal Depositions Received held at QSA. The author acknowledges that the Register is a less accurate measure of the charges than the criminal indictments. Moreover, the taxonomy of criminal charges clouds the exact figure and the total number of offences is most likely higher than can be ascertained here. The numbers presented here are a criminal law estimate and it must be acknowledged that for every sexual story told within the criminal justice system many remain untold. The vast majority of homosexual incidences were never recorded. The information that remains is more accurately a reflection of the policing of particular offences than actual incidence.

6 Byrne, Paula J., Criminal Law and Colonial Subject: New South Wales, 1810–1810 (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press), 9.

CrossRef

7 Simes, Gary, ‘The Language of Homosexuality in Australia’, in Aldrich and Wotherspoon, Gay Perspectives, 41.

8 Trumbach, Randolph, ‘London's Sodomites: Homosexual Behaviour and Western Culture in the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of Social History 11 (1977): 15.

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9 Trumbach, ‘London's Sodomites’, 15.

10 Aldrich, Robert, Colonialism and Homosexuality (London: Routledge, 2003), 239.

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11 Aldrich, Colonialism and Homosexuality, 239

12 Knopp, Lawrence, ‘Sexuality and Urban Space: A Framework for Analysis’, in Bell, David and Valentine, Gill, eds, Mapping Desire: Geographies of Sexualities (New York: Routledge, 1995), 154.

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13 Bell, David, ‘Perverse Dynamics, Sexual Citizenship and the Transformation of Intimacy’, in Bell and Valentine, Mapping Desire, 306; Maynard, Steven, ‘Through a Hole in the Lavatory Wall: Homosexual Subcultures, Police Surveillance, and the Dialectics of Discovery, Toronto, 1890–1930’, Journal of the History of Sexuality 5(2) (1994): 216–17; Chauncey, George, ‘Privacy Could Only be Had in Public: Gay Uses of the Streets’, in Saunders, Joel, ed., Stud: Architectures of Masculinity (New York: Princeton University Press, 1996), 225.

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14 Knopp, ‘Sexuality and Urban Space’, 154, 155.

15 ibid.

16 Leap, William, ‘Introduction’, in Leap, William, ed., Public Sex/Gay Space (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 7.

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17 Carbery, Graham, ‘Some Melbourne Beats: A Map of a Subculture from the 1930s to the 1950s’, in Aldrich and Wotherspoon, Gay Perspectives, 132, 142–43; Moore, Clive, ‘From Beats to Cyber Sex: Australian Gay Male Appropriation of Public Space’, in Russell, Lynette ed., Boundary Writing: An Exploration of Race, Culture and Gender Binaries in Contemporary Australia (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006), 27; Ira Tattelman, ‘Speaking to the Gay Bathhouse: Communicating in Sexually Charged Spaces’, in Public Sex/Gay Space, 71, 82–83; Richard Tewksbury, ‘Cruising for Sex in Public Places: The Structure and Language of Men's Hidden, Erotic Worlds’, Deviant Behaviour: An Interdisciplinary Journal 17 (1995): 4–9.

18 Chauncey, ‘Privacy Could Only be Had in Public’, p. 238.

19 Wotherspoon, Garry, ‘A Sodom in the South Pacific: Male Homosexuality in Sydney 1788–1809’, in Aplin, Graeme, ed., A Difficult Infant: Sydney Before Macquarie (Sydney: New South Wales University Press, 1988), 98.

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20 Moore, ‘The Frontier Makes Strange Bedfellows’, 20–22, 24; Wotherspoon, ‘A Sodom in the South Pacific’, 95, 97; Wotherspoon, City of the Plain, 20; French, Camping by a Billabong, 9; Moore, Sunshine and Rainbows, 31.

21 Wotherspoon, ‘A Sodom in the South Pacific’, 98.

22 French, Camping by a Billabong, 43.

23 Baskerville, ‘“;Agreed to Without Debate”’, 104–05

24 Carr, ‘Policing the “Abominable Crime”’, 27–40; Wayne Murdoch, ‘“;Disgusting Doings” and “Putrid Practices”: Reporting Homosexual Men's Lives in the Melbourne Truth During the First World War’, in Aldrich and Wotherspoon, Gay and Lesbian Perspectives IV, 116–31; Wayne Murdoch, ‘Homosexuality and Melbourne Truth: An Annotated Listing, 1913–1945’, in Philips and Willett, Australia's Homosexual Histories, 177–21; Carbery, ‘Some Melbourne Beats’, 131–15.

25 Moore, Sunshine and Rainbows, 70.

26 R v James Stuart, in Briefs, Depositions and Associated Papers in Criminal Cases Heard, 1 May 1907 to 30 May 1907, QSA, Brisbane, SCT/CC184; ‘Back Block Bestiality: An Alleged Unnatural Offence’, Truth (Brisbane), 31 March 1907; ‘Police Courts’, Brisbane Courier, 29 March 1907.

27 Moore, Sunshine and Rainbows, 88.

28 R v Stuart, QSA, SCT/CC184.

29 ibid.

30 ibid.

31 ibid.

32 ibid.

33 Carbery, ‘Some Melbourne Beats’, 131.

34 Wotherspoon, City of the Plain, 67.

35 Moore, Clive, ‘Poofs in the Park: Documenting Gay “Beats” in Queensland, Australia’, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 2(1–2) (1995): 319–39.

36 ibid.: 330–37. Also see Yorick Smaal, More Than Mates? Masculinity, Homosexuality, and the Formation of an Embryonic Homosexual Subculture in Queensland, 1890–1914, MPhil thesis, University of Queensland, 2004, 113–14.

37 R v Ernest Fontain, in Briefs, Depositions and Associated Papers in Criminal Cases Heard, 1 August 1911 to 31 August 1911, QSA, SCT/CC224; R v Herbert Garnham, in Briefs, Depositions and Associated Papers in Criminal Cases Heard, 1 March 1910 to 31 March 1910, QSA, CCT/N59.

38 R v James Anderson and Job Allen, in Briefs, Depositions and Associated Papers in Criminal Cases Heard, 1 April 1892 to 30 April 1892, QSA, SCT/CC99.

39 ibid.

40 ibid.

41 ibid.

42 Tewksbury, ‘Cruising for Sex’, 8–10.

43 ibid.

44 Durgadas, Ganapati, ‘Fatness and Feminised Men’, in Atkins, Dawn, ed., Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (New York: Harworth Press, 1998), 369.

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45 Durgadas, ‘Fatness and Feminised Men’, 369.

46 Brisbane Courier, 22 January 1895.

47 R v John Lowry, in Briefs, Depositions and Associated Papers in Criminal Cases Heard, 1 February 1907 to 28 February 1907, QSA, SCT/CC183; ‘Lowry's Lurk: Grabbing Gold Rings’ Truth (Brisbane), 13 January 1907.

48 R v Lowry, QSA, SCT/CC183.

49 Moore, Sunshine and Rainbows, 86.

50 Spearritt, Katie, The Poverty of Protection: Women and Marriage in Colonial Queensland, 1870–1900, BA Hons thesis, University of Queensland, 1988, 31.

51 R v George Isap, in Criminal Files, 1 January 1900 to 31 December 1900, QSA, A/18329; R v Robert Marshall, in Depositions, 1 January 1907 to 31 December 1907, QSA, A/4972; Her Majesty's Gaol, Entry No. 15/2302, in Register of Male Prisoners Admitted: Admission Book, August 1901 to May 1903, QSA, PRI 1/14A.

52 Table 6: ‘Sex Ratio, States and Territories, 31 December 1796 Onwards’, Australian Historical Population Statistics, www.abs.gov.au.

53 Carr, ‘Policing the “Abominable Crime”’, 36.

54 Baskerville, ‘“;Agreed to Without Debate”’, 104.

55 R v John Talty, in Briefs, Depositions and Associated Papers in Criminal Cases Heard, 1 September 1910 to 30 September 1907, QSA, CCT4/N60; ‘Supreme Court: Criminal Sittings’, Darling Downs Gazette, 21 September 1910, 5.

56 R v Talty, QSA, CCT4/N60.

57 ibid.

58 Darling Downs Gazette, 21 September 1910.

59 ibid.

60 R v Talty, QSA, CCT4/N60.

61 R v Patrick Keating, in Briefs, Depositions and Associated Papers in Criminal Cases Heard, 1 April 1907 to 30 September 1907, QSA, CCT4/N54.

62 ibid.

63 ibid.

64 ibid.

65 Lee, John, ‘Male Homosexual Identity and Subculture in Adelaide Before World War II’, in Aldrich, Gay Perspectives, 104–05.

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