PRIDEFEST may be over but the celebrations are just beginning for Connections nightclub as it prepares for its 40th anniversary.
Co-owner Tim Brown said it was an amazing achievement for the Northbridge club.
“Most nightclubs can’t last more than a few years and any business making 40 years is pretty impressive but for a nightclub to do it is unheard of, especially a gay and lesbian one in a small provincial town at the end of the world,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown has worked at Connections for 24 years and said the changes in that time had been incredible.
Until 1989, homosexuality was on the WA Criminal Code.
“In 1975 it was a very, very quiet thing; there was no advertising,” Mr Brown said.
“The first advertisement for Connections was a four-line advertisement in the personal column and it was a word-of-mouth thing, whereas now we advertise all over, we’re on Facebook and people have their photos in the nightclub every weekend.”
Mr Brown said there were very few photos from Connections’ early years because people did not want to be seen at the club.
“Queuing outside was a real issue for us because if we got so busy there was a queue, many people would leave because they wouldn’t stand outside Connections in the queue on the street,” he said.
Mr Brown attributed Connections’ longevity to hard work and involvement with the gay and lesbian community and key community groups.
“It’s a bit more than a nightclub; it’s very engaged with the gay and lesbian community in this town, it always has been and I’d like to think it always will,” he said.
“The whole time it’s been at James Street; it’s the oldest gay club in the southern hemisphere and one of the oldest clubs in the country. When you think about what’s happened in the gay and lesbian community in those 24 years I’ve been here, we’ve gone from living behind closed doors to being out there and visible.”