Sydney LGBTIQA Mardi Gras

It was the 40th Anniversary and so amazing. The numerous dance venues created a mini city and it was as buzzy and packed as the peak 1990s era.

Was privileged to be sitting next to a 78er, Peter McEwan from Melbourne, while waiting for Cher’s performance. He’d visited Sydney in 1978 for a national homosexual conference at Paddington Town Hall, and was involved in the protests. “The agenda back then used to include fighting in solidarity for everyone — access to abortion, refugees, women’s rights. I wish that solidarity was still around today. Other issues are important too.” He prefers the term “Queer” to “Gay”, as it’s more gender fluid.

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Mary Ward

Mary wanted an upbeat celebration of her life, as she had mumchat (1)been blessed with an incredibly wonderful and rich life. She often said it was the people in her life who’d made it so great.

EARLY YEARS

It all began in Leeds in 1939 — Mary was always proud of being a Yorkshire lass, with three other siblings, Patrick, Christine and Bernard, and her loving parents, Annie and Thomas. It was a terrible blow when her younger brother and sister died later on. Her memories of Leeds were of a close community of friends and cousins, especially Margaret, Pauline and Tony, who used to meet every Sunday morning after mass at the Holy Family Church with around 15 people in the room, chatting for hours. Mary was often asked to read aloud at school due to her lovely voice and reading skills and was very proud of a scholarship she won at 11 to go to a private girls’ school.

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Eurovision slumber party!

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Went to a Eurovision slumber party with scavenger hunt and bingo at Louise’s place. Started on Saturday night, watching the second semi-final, while Louise cooked delicious Ukrainian dishes – borscht soup and Chicken Kiev – to honour this year’s host nation.

It was lucky for us ABBA fans that Ukraine’s flag has the same colours as Sweden, so there were plenty of blue and yellow streamers strung around!

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Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence visit Taronga Zoo

Went with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on their 24th annual Taronga Park Zoo sistersvisitation. We’re told to wear sensible shoes, a hat, and that the event will go ahead in all weathers. The first highlight is the amazing ferry trip across Sydney Harbour, with a view of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the visiting Queen Mary cruise ship.

Mostly international Mardi Gras visitors attend this excursion so they can appreciate our local fauna, and the Sisters, led by Mother Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, provide a hilarious commentary of poems dedicated to each animal and – to the shock of attendees – early colonial recipes for eating them! Kangaroo tail is to be made like oxtail soup, and black swans should be cooked in a moderate oven for two hours. There were also tips on how to make a delicious Galah Pie and Roast Wombat!

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ABBA picnic in Camperdown Park

Held an ABBA picnic to play a new ABBA trivia board game I’d put together and have a sing-a-along.picnic

I staked a perfect spot under a tree and sent out an SOS as there were picnickers everywhere in Camperdown Park, and I urgently needed more blankets to claim our turf.

A word re: Aussie ABBA fans: we’re hugely tolerant and will put up with retro discos where only hip hop is played, endure ABBA tribute bands that don’t know the words, and pay ridiculous amounts for smoked salmon on Ryvita at Scandi restaurants. But nobody messes with an ABBA picnic, and fans scurried back to their cars to bring extra blankets.

First on the scene was G, who’d just walked the length of uber-hipster King Street while wearing his Voulez-Vous badge – woe betide anyone who would dare make fun of it, and a few paid tribute by singing “A-ha!”. “It’s not just a badge, it’s a way of life,” G said, with his proudest expression.

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Asylum Seekers Centre community speakers program

Am one of the community speakers. Have done one speech so far, to about 60 people.

https://asylumseekerscentre.org.au/introducing-our-community-speakers-program/

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We have a network of over 25 community speakers, who come from a wide range of professional and cultural backgrounds. Our speakers are an important link between our Centre and the community. They have been specially recruited and trained with the skills and knowledge required to talk to the community about people seeking asylum and the work of the Centre.

Our presentations

Our presentations are free and suitable for a wide variety of audiences such as:
Community groups and clubs
Schools and higher education organisations
Churches and other religious groups
Professional associations and organisations
Health organisations
Multicultural groups

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Eurovision Australia!

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What an exciting Eurovision!, with Dami winning the jury vote! And second overall. Loved the Swedish hosts’ comedy segments. L made lovely vanilla cupcakes with Swedish flags stuck in them, and Scandinavian Dreamcake (coconut topping, delish!) Everyone had made special trips to IKEA for all the Swedish food and drinks, so we had EVERYTHING!

Watching all the past Swedish hits made us wonder if anyone in Sweden has a normal 9-5.30 job? They all seem so busy making smash hits.

Played my customised Eurovision Bingo — we were a bit disappointed by the lack of backing dancers this years (replaced by special fx) as that eliminated some of the bingo spotting challenges (eg. “singer lifted by a backing dancer”). L won the bingo tiara, as she spotted most things first.

G brought Greek bikkies, but we couldn’t eat them when Greece came on, as they’d already been knocked out in the semis! TC filled in any gaps in our Eurovision knowledge.

We are still waiting for superfan S, who was in Stockholm watching the semis, to send us photos of her Eurovision pilgrimage!

Since we’ve been watching Eurovision since the 1990s, when it was first shown on SBS with Terry Wogan’s excellent commentary, we raised a glass and toasted Wogan’s demise at song no.9, which is significant, as UK host Graham Norton said this was when Wogan advised Norton that it was OK to have the first alcoholic drink. (“no drinking before song 9!”, otherwise the commentator gets sozzled too quickly.)