2016 marked thirty years since the incorporation ofthe Northern Territory AIDS Council, now known as Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council. This organisation is the culmination of five distinct entities that emerged from two local responses to a global crisis, in Alice Springs and in Darwin. The Central Australian AIDS Action Group (CAAAG) grew into the AIDS Council of Central Australia (ACOCA). The Northern Territory AIDS Action Group (NTAAG) became the Northern Territory AIDS Council (NTAC), with all organisations finally emerging into the current Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC). These AIDS Councils, and the organisations that they grew from, were the labour of many people and it is their experiences through time that really make the substance of this story.
The recollections and memories within the digital storyline above, and the pages of the accompanying publication come from an array of truly spectacular people who all faced and battled the menace of HIV (and later viral hepatitis) with all the fear, stigma, discrimination, illness and death that these situations had to throw at them.
These stories, photos, videos, key dates and events are placed against a backdrop of what was happening in HIV in Australia, which is courtesy of the AFAO timeline
The stories you read here have been constructed from edited transcripts of interviews that I conducted with each person. Oral histories transformed for the page. These are stories of resilience, courage, tenacity, humility, humour and much sadness – but most of all they combine to form one story of enormous conviction founded on the most basic yet advanced human principles: love and compassion. Many of the people who are not with us are remembered with great fondness and more than a touch of sadness. This project is dedicated to them. The blood-borne viral threats have not gone away, so whilst we commemorate and heal from the past we must continue to look firmly and vigilantly to the future.
We thank all of the wonderfully generous participants for their time and memories. Without you this greater story would never had been told. We know that we are indeed not alone.
Curated and Edited by Panos Couros
Editorial Associate Dino Hodge, PhD
Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this document contains images or names of people who have since passed away.
Dedicated to all people who have passed away from AIDS-related illness in the Northern Territory.
- Panos Couros
Panos Couros is a composer, sound designer, artist and manager. His career ranges from Executive Director of the NT Writers’ Centre, Executive Producer of Queer Screen, Administrator of Artspace Visual Arts Centre, General Manager of dLux Media Arts, Program Manager at Casula Powerhouse and Darwin Festival. Panos successfully completed treatment for Hep C in 2007 and in the following years has sat on the boards of Hepatitis NSW and Hepatitis Australia and NTAHC. Panos also works as a freelance project coordinator and a sound designer and has composed works for theatre, dance and the visual arts across Australia and Internationally.
- Dr. Dino Hodge
Dino Hodge is editor of Did You Meet any Malagas? (1993), an oral history collection about Darwin’s multiracial gay community, and Colouring the Rainbow (2015), life-stories and essays by Queer and Trans First Nations Australians. Dino is a co-founder of Darwin Pride Festival (1985), and was the convenor of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights NT that successfully fought for anti-discrimination protection (1992). His theatre work on Darwin’s homosexual personalities His Own Special Friend premiered in 1993, and was adapted for performance in New York for a festival of one act plays celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 1994.
Books, Articles and Reports
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations. ‘Aborigines and AIDS.’ National AIDS Bulletin 3, no. 3 special issue, April 1989, 14–31 (ten articles, four with no author attribution).
_ _ _. Anwernekenhe 1: First National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Gay Men and Transgender Sexual Health Conference. Sydney: AFAO, 1994.
_ _ _. National AIDS Bulletin. Special Issue: Indigenous People and HIV 12, no. 3, 1998.
Bartlett, Ben. ‘Central Australia.’ National AIDS Bulletin 3, no 3 special issue, April 1989, 18.
Bates, Nicholas. ‘Northern Identity.’ Burn 8, August 1993, 10–11.
Chamberlain, Elden and Amanda Collinge. ‘Alligator Odyssey.’ Campaign 187, October 1991, 41.
Curtis, Brie Ngala. ‘Kungakunga: staying close to family and country.’ In Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives, edited by Dino Hodge. Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2015, 35–47.
Dunn/Holland, Wendy, Maureen Fletcher, Dino Hodge, Gary Lee, E. J. Milera (John Cross), Rea Saunders and Jim Wafer. ‘Peopling the Empty Mirror: The Prospects for Lesbian and Gay Aboriginal History’. In Gay Perspectives II: More Essays in Australian Gay Culture, edited by Robert Aldrich. Sydney: University of Sydney, 1994, 1–62.
Hodge, Dino. Did You Meet Any Malagas? A Homosexual History of Australia’s Northernmost Capital. Nightcliff, N.T.: Little Gem, 1993.
_ _ _. ‘Malagas at Work: aspects of a Northern Territory oral history project.’ The Oral History Association of Australia Journal 17, September 1995, 20–24.
Johnson, Crystal. ‘Indigenous Report’. Gay NT 1, no 3, 2000, 22.
_ _ _. ‘Napanangka: the true power of being proud.’ In Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives, edited by Dino Hodge. Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2015, 21–34.
Johnson, Cyril. ‘Indigenous Report’. Gay NT 1, no 1, 2000, 14.
Kerry, Stephen. ‘Transgender and Sex/Gender Diverse Northern Territorians.’
Lee, Gary. ‘Dealing with HIV among Indigenous Peoples in Northern Australia.’ National AIDS Bulletin 11, no 5, 1991, 8, 30.
_ _ _. Malaga to Malaga: Man to Man. 2nd ed. Darwin: Danila Dilba Biluru Butji Binnilutlum Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation and Northern Territory AIDS Council, 1996.
_ _ _. ‘Love doesn’t have a Colour’, in Lovers and Others. Sydney: Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, 1996, 54–55.
_ _ _. ‘Towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Australia’, unpublished paper presented at the 4th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, Manila, Philippines, 25–29 October 1997.
_ _ _. ‘Boys to Men’, National AIDS Bulletin 12, no 3, 1998, 18–19.
_ _ _. ‘Us Mob: Anwernekenhe II – The Second National Conference for Indigenous Australian Gay Men and Sista Girls.’ National AIDS Bulletin 12, no 3, 1998, 6–8.
_ _ _. ‘Vast Distances ... Vast Differences.’ National AIDS Bulletin 12, no 3, 1998, 24–25, 35.
_ _ _. ‘Breaking the Silence: Indigenous Gay, Transgender, Sistergirl Sexual Abuse Workshop Report’, Anwernekenhe III Report, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, 2002.
_ _ _. ‘Proposal to Undertake a Needs Assessment of Indigenous Gay Men and Sistergirl (Transgender) Sexual Abuse in the Darwin-Palmerston Region’, July 2002, unpublished paper.
Lee, Gary and Timothy Moore. The National Indigenous Gay and Transgender Project: Consultation Report and Sexual Health Strategy. (The combined consultation report [Lee is sole author] and strategy [Lee and Moore joint authors in association with the AFAO Indigenous Gay and Transgender Steering Committee] is known as the ‘Green Document’.) Sydney: Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, 1998.
Lee, Sim. ‘A Journey with Support.’ In Being Different, edited by Garry Wotherspoon. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1986, 201–22.
Michaels, Eric. Unbecoming: an AIDS memoir. North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1997.
Rowse, Tim. ‘Perspectives on the Cultures of Sexuality among Central Australian Aboriginal People’ Unpublished paper, Menzies School of Health Research, Alice Springs, 1992. (Held in AIATSIS library as PMS 5238.)
Sisters & Brothers NT. ‘Voices from Our Community: sexual, bodily and gender diversity in the NT and tristate region.’ Alice Springs: Sisters and Brothers NT, 2015.
Willis, Jon. ‘Sexual Cultures: Some Notes on Indigenous Australian Sexualities.’ In Perspectives in Human Sexuality, edited by Gail Hawkes and John Scott. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2005, 119–41.
_ _ _. ‘Heteronormativity and the Deflection of Male Same-sex Attraction among the Pitjantjatjara People of Australia’s Western Desert.’ Culture, Health and Sexuality: An International Journal for Research, Intervention and Care 5, no 2, 8 Nov 2010, 137–51.
Unattributed. ‘The National Aboriginal Health Strategy.’ National AIDS Bulletin 3, no 3 special issue, April 1989, 28–31.
_ _ _. ‘Quilt goes to Alice Springs.’ The Galah 13, May 1990, 19.
_ _ _. ‘Everybody’s Business: The First National Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Conference.’ National AIDS Bulletin 7, no 3 special issue, April 1992, 12–25.
CAAMA Productions. ‘First National Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Conference: Everybody’s Business.’ Produced by CAAMA Productions and funded by the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services.
Cole, Bindi, Andy Canny and Donna McCrum, 2011. Sistagirl (documentary film).
Northern Territory AIDS Council, 1998. ‘Tayikwapi: Documentary on the Sista Girls.’ VHS video, digital copy held by ALGA, disk no. 403 (26 mins).
Santana, Hédimo, 1995. ‘Anwernekenhe: First National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Gay Men and Transgender Sexual Health Conference.’ Produced, directed and edited by Hédimo Santana, under the auspices of the National Committee for Indigenous Australian Gay Men and Transgenders and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Newcastle. (DVD transferred from VHS tape, copy lodged with ALGA.)
Articles and Reports – law reform
Carbery, Graham. ‘Towards Homosexual Equality in Australian Criminal Law: a brief history.’ Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 2nd edition, 2014. See esp 48–49, 52–53.
Darwin Community Legal Service. Equality Before the Law: gay and lesbian law reform in the NT. Submission to the Northern Territory Government, Darwin, May 2002.
Hodge, Dino. ‘One Little Jurisdiction: the story of anti-discrimination initiatives in the Northern Territory, August 1989–February 1991.’ National AIDS Bulletin 5, no 2, March 1991, 27–29.
_ _ _. ‘Activism in the Top End.’ National AIDS Bulletin 7, no 7, August 1993, 12–14.
_ _ _. Did You Meet Any Malagas? A Homosexual History of Australia’s Northernmost Capital. Nightcliff, N.T.: Little Gem, 1993.
Hodge, Dino, Anthony Smith and David Patterson. ‘HIV Status, Sexuality and Discrimination: whose turn to (en)act?’ National AIDS Bulletin 4, no 6, July 1990, 48–51.
Northern Territory AIDS Council – Working Group on Law Reform (David Patterson, Dino Hodge and Anthony Smith). HIV/AIDS, Discrimination and Law Reform in the Northern Territory. Submission to the Northern Territory and Commonwealth Governments, Darwin, February 1990.
Unattributed. ‘The Homosexual Advance Defence (HAD) and Provocation: a Northern Territory perspective.’ 2002 (36 pp; author not listed), unpublished thesis, copy held by Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, ref Thesis # 102.
Selected Internet Sites
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations. Anwernekenhe 1: First National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Gay Men and Transgender Sexual Health Conference. Sydney: AFAO, 1994.
_ _ _. National AIDS Bulletin. Special Issue: Indigenous People and HIV 12, no. 3, 1998.
_ _ _. Lee, Gary and Timothy Moore. The National Indigenous Gay and Transgender Project: Consultation Report and Sexual Health Strategy
Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA) – see especially Collection Guide for Northern Territory
Darwin gay history
Northern Territory Archives Service – see especially papers lodged by Dino Hodge, NTRS 1306, 1312, 3701, 3702, 1330, and 1470.
Northern Territory Library – see especially Queer Collection and Lesbian and Gay Literature Subject Guide.
Sisters and Brothers NT
You’re Not Alone ... 30 years of AIDS Councils in the Northern Territory Is published by the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC) GPO Box 2826, Darwin NT 0801
Telephone (61) 08 8944 7777 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
ABN 58 45 364 262
Curator & Editor: Panos Couros
Associate Editor: Dino Hodge, PhD
Print Designer: Oscar Waugh
Digital Storyline: Captovate
NTAHC Executive Director: Kim Gates
Printed by Zip Print, Darwin
Recommended retail price AUD$25 (inc. GST)
ISBN (for printed publication): 978-0-9945924-0-8
© Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council 2016
This work is Copyright. Apart from any use permitted under The Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of NTAHC at the above addresses.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication are those of the individual interviewees and do not necessarily represent those of the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council.
Front Cover Image: World AIDS Day Road Show: Tobin Saunders, Bev Greet, Daniel Ward, Jan Holt, at Devils Marbles Central Australia. November 2010 (Photo Greta Enbom)
Back Cover Image: Joanne, Mt Bundy Sistergirl retreat, 2006.
This limited edition, beautifully printed 192 page publication can be purchased from NTAHC for $25 plus postage.
Please email NTAHC to enquire about how you can purchase.
- Thank You
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations; Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives; Elisabeth Marnie at Northern Territory Archives Service (Alice Springs); Northern Territory Archives Service (Darwin); NT Library Darwin; Current and past board members of NTAHC, NTAC and ACOCA; History Project participants; David Haigh; Therese Ritchie; Jim Buckell; Leanne Melling; Maria Scarlett; Alex Galeazzi.