First Mardi Gras was incorporated as a not for profit community association on 20 April 2017. The operations of the organisation are governed by our Constitution and the Associations Incorporation Act, 2009.
First Mardi Gras has a Management Committee elected by members of the association. Members of the Management Committee are:
"I was involved in the Gay Solidarity Group meetings that organised the morning street march to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riot in New York. A couple of chaps from CAMP came along to a meeting propose a night-time march/festival as well. And that became the first Mardi Gras! With my leg in a walking plaster from a motorbike accident, I ambled happily down Oxford St with friends. But when police stopped the parade near Hyde Park, we were galvanised and charged up to Kings Cross - defiant, exhilarated and chanting slogans. Sheltered with friends in a shop doorway, I witnessed the most brutal police attack I had ever seen."
Diane was active in women's and lesbian and gay groups including the Gay Trade Union Group and Pride History Group and was elected three times to the Board of New Mardi Gras in the early to mid-2000s. Following a career in the public service, Diane now works on projects in training and communications.
"In early 1978, I received a letter from San Francisco asking for solidarity actions for the Stonewall anniversary, Gay Freedom Day parade on 24 June. We formed a coalition of lesbian, gay and progressive groups to plan our activities including a late-night street festival, starting in Taylor Square. Dressed in a country and western frock, I remember feeling amazed that people showed up. It was exhilarating to be free, visible and together but these feelings turned to alarm. It was outrageous how violently the police attacked us in the Cross. We instantly knew we had experienced our own Stonewall."
Apart from commitment over the decades to queer activism and to commemorating Mardi Gras history, Ken has worked as a mail sorter, in disability services, in HIV, and since 1994, with the international solidarity agency of the ACTU, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA.
"When I became involved in LGBTIQ activism in 1975, there were few organisations for gay men and lesbians and they didn’t openly advertise their existence. I didn’t know how to meet other lesbians but by chance, I came across CAMP NSW and soon became involved as a member of the Executive Committee. CAMP was one of the organisations involved in the Gay Solidarity Group that coordinated the parade. I had been involved in many marches and rallies for social justice issues since high school but the Mardi Gras sounded like it was going to be a bit different, a bit of fun."
Robyn has worked at senior levels in both the public and not for profit sector. She is highly experienced in strategic policy, business planning, evaluation, funding and the development of strategies to support growth and diversity. She has experience in corporate governance through Board membership of not for profit organisations. She was elected to the Board of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in September 2017.
"As a refugee from Joh’s Queensland in 1975, I threw myself into all Sydney had to offer – especially its progressive political life. I became active in the women’s liberation movement, the Southern African Liberation Centre and my industrial union, and discovered the Gay Solidarity Group which provided fertile ground for both political action and personal friendships. I was out of town on the ‘big day’ of 78, but atoned for this sin of omission by being part of all the subsequent demonstrations. In the back of a paddy wagon on Taylor Square, I met the wonderful Ken Lovett who became the backbone of our successful Drop the Charges campaign."
Betty worked for 40 years in the community sector, starting with Marrickville Women’s Refuge in the late 70s. During the 80s she worked in community legal centres, including driving a successful campaign for recognition of lesbian and gay relationships in Australia’s immigration system. After a year with the United Nations in Cambodia, Betty became Executive Director of ACOSS from 1994 to 2001. She exited the full-time paid workforce in 2014 after more than a decade as Deputy Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation. Betty is still involved in the sector through voluntary board memberships of organisations such as the Asylum Seekers Centre and Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA.
"In 1978 I was a student in Melbourne when I heard about the arrests at the first Mardi Gras. I helped organise a response protest in Melbourne which filled the Bourke St mall. I then attended the response demonstration two weeks later in Sydney where more arrests occurred. I witnessed the arrests of 104 people who left the 4th National Homosexual Conference in Sydney in 1978 to protest against the Right to Life anti-abortion rally."
On moving to Sydney in 1983 Ross became involved in the Australian response to HIV/AIDS and worked in the HIV sector for over 25 years. Ross has been on a number of community boards and currently works for the HIV Outreach Team for the NSW Department of Health.
"I was living in Perth at the time of the first Mardi Gras and involved in the lesbian group there socially and politically. I heard about the attacks by Police. When I found out there was to be a protest march in July, I hitchhiked to Sydney to join the march. I remember in the year prior to the July march, a girlfriend and I were run out of a NSW country town that we were holidaying in. We had kissed under an umbrella in the town and a group of teenage boys spotted us. They gathered other locals and started to follow us. The whole thing quickly gathered a menacing momentum."
Cat has worked in senior positions at a state and national level in both Government and the not for profit sector. She has significant experience in strategy, policy, project management and organisational development. Cat has held Premier advisory positions and state and national representative positions. She has sat on numerous Boards and has a high level of knowledge and skills in effective governance.