May 28, 2012
Connections Nightclub in Northbridge holds the title of being the longest running gay nightclub in Australia – a source of pride for management and local politicians alike.
The nightclub opened in 1975 and it has had the same name and location ever since.
Venue manager Gavin Kingsbury says Connections is the longest running gay nightclub in the nation – a fact confirmed by the Northbridge History Project website.
“Connections Nightclub started officially in December 1975 and like most of the gay clubs in the late 70s, early 80s, it was started mainly to offer a place for gay and lesbian people to socialise in,” Mr Kingsbury said.
John Hyde is the Shadow Minister for Culture and the Arts.
When first elected State member for the electorate of Perth – in which Connections sits – Mr Hyde was Western Australia’s first openly gay MP.
He said that the club has always been about the local community.
“WA should be proud that a cultural and community business like Connections is the longest running gay nightclub in Australia,” Mr Hyde said.
He says that young people do not tend to celebrate the longevity of Connections because being gay is now accepted through much of Western Australia.
“Connections’ very existence in the early years was a statement about gay and lesbian West Australians being visible and proud,” Mr Hyde said.
“Today that has been achieved.”
Connections has gained a reputation overseas and become a recommended travel destination for international gay travellers.
Mr Kingsbury said an international traveller recently said that Connections was “kinda like a backyard party that’s gotten to the point just before the cops are called, but they never are”.
“We thought that was excellent,” he said.
“Bring on the ordered chaos!
“If you can travel around the globe and go to a club in little old Perth, far away from your family and friends, and instantly feel at home here then we’re doing something right.”
Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said she was proud the club was within the City of Perth boundaries.
“It’s a great club and … the operators are highly regarded and responsible,” Ms Scaffidi said.
Mr Kingsbury said there had been many changes since the club opened but a planned extension this year was very exciting.
“We’re … building a gorgeous lounge bar complete with Chesterfields, low lighting, premium spirits and a dedicated cocktail bar,” Mr Kingsbury said.
He says the lounge bar will add another element to the club and cater for a more mature crowd.
“Connections will always evolve with the times [but it] will always stay true to its roots,” Mr Kingsbury said.