A powder puff used in a criminal prosecution; a set of slides from an international holiday; the humble telephone and the not-so-modest Speedo are all put on the spotlight in Queer Objects, a new book edited by Chris Brickell and Judith Collard, published by University of Otago Press in collaboration with Manchester University Press and Rutgers University Press.
PHA member Tim Roberts contributed two micro-chapters to this generously illustrated volume. The first introduces Australian artist Donald Friend’s correspondence with his confidante, journalist and author Patricia Bennet. The letters, today held in the State Library of Queensland’s Australian Library of Art, reveal much about Friend’s character through his witty and scintillating descriptions of life from the early 1940s until the early 1960s. Over these years Friend trained as a gunner and worked as an official war artist, travelling across the eastern states of Australia and further to Labuan, Malaysia; before settling after the war in Hill End, New South Wales, and on the exotic Brief estate of architect and landscaper Bevis Bawa in Sri Lanka.
Roberts’ second contribution to Queer Objects sheds light on some Queensland LGBT+ history, specifically the flag of the Rangers Motor Club. The Rangers MC was a camping and social group for gay men in the south-east Queensland area that operated from 1980 until 2011. The club was a part of a wider network of similar organisations throughout Australia, and formed relationships with associations of a similar ethic internationally. Localised LGBT+ social history is rarely incorporated into major publications, affording a new level of exposure for this regional historic content to new audiences.
Launches for the 63-chapter, 400-page, profusely-illustrated text were held in Sydney, Melbourne and Dunedin during October and November. The book will be available at discerning retailers and major libraries imminently, just in time for the summer holiday season.