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Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade route added to NSW Heritage Register

After two years at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade returns to Oxford Street this month, following the same route but with a symbolic, special meaning.

The New South Wales government has added the Oxford Street parade route to the state’s heritage register to mark its 45th anniversary and ahead of Sydney’s World Pride Festival, the city’s largest Mardi Gras.

The Bike Embankment, photographed in 2017, traditionally marks the start of Oxford Street as the opening of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.credit:James Brickwood

The heritage list includes parts of Oxford Street, Flinders Street, Anzac Parade, Darlinghurst Road and Darlinghurst Police Station, where LGBTQ protesters were taken and held in 1978. The police station sparked the annual protest and pride parade now known as Mardi Gras.

For Peter de Waal, who marched (not up) Oxford Street in the 1978s, having its history, pain and injustice recognized through the heritage list was “a sort of cleansing.”

“At the time, we were with hundreds of other people, and it was very lonely.” ”

Peter de Waal (right) and partner Peter Bonsall Boone in 2017.

Peter de Waal (right) and partner Peter Bonsall Boone in 2017.credit:edwina pickles

De Waal later recalled that several Oxford Street hotels offered space to young gay men who had mostly died of HIV/AIDS. He said it’s common for them to live to see the Mardi Gras parade.

De Waal said the heritage registration “is also a recognition to all those who were there that night, took part in the first parade, but can no longer be with us.”

New South Wales has previously added other routes to its heritage register, including the convict-built Old Great North Road in Dargu National Park, the Corduroy Road Ruins Historic Site, and Cox Road and Early Divisions in the Blue Mountains.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/mardi-gras-parade-route-added-to-state-heritage-register-20230201-p5ch63.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade route added to NSW Heritage Register

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