Rectangular block of solid Perspex, inscribed 'THE RAINBOW AWARDS '95 MOST POPULAR NIGHT OUT'.

The Rainbow Awards recognise community efforts to promote the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. They are presented at an annual dinner. In 1995 the Rainbow Awards were hosted by transsexual Vivien St James, which helped launch her career as a showgirl. They were held at the Brighton International, a reception venue.

This award was apparently given to Girl Bar, by then a popular Melbourne venue. Girl Bar was established in 1993 by Kira Seymour and Julie Jeong. Its stated aim at the time was 'to encourage live queer performances, entertainment, fun, and coalition politics'. Girl Bar has operated from several Melbourne venues - the first at the Commerce Club in Flinders Lane, then to South Melbourne and later St Kilda. In 2010 it is operating at the Prince of Wales Hotel, 29 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.

Physical Description

Rectangular block of solid Perspex, made from three pieces joined together. On inscription is printed on the back of the second surface, so that it appears to float in the centre of the block. The inscription includes a rainbow-coloured flag.


The Girl Bar collection is significant for several reasons. It provides rare documentation of a lesbian social venue from the 1990s to the recent past, illustrating how the venue promoted itself and the messages it conveyed to its target audience, and how patrons interacted with the venue. The collection includes several key objects and documents, from entry tags and ID cards carried by patrons to a scrapbook with flyers, advertisements and newspaper clippings about the venue and the lesbian scene in Melbourne more broadly. It is contextualized with material such as an album of photographs showing the fit-out of one of their venues, a whistle (for safety and attention), t-shirts and drink coasters, and a personal artwork that remembers an event at the Girl Bar. The collection fills part of the gap in major Victorian collecting institutions, identified in Kate Davison’s 2006 report ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Material Survey’.

At a broader level, the Girl Bar scrapbook documents the techniques used by venues of this sort – and indeed, a whole range of social contexts, including bands – to promote themselves in a cost-effective, grass-roots manner. It includes original artwork, showing the simple techniques (such as line drawings and cutting and pasting) that were used to create flyers for photocopying onto coloured paper. The photo album documents the physical set-up of a business, providing an insight into a rarely-documented part of commercial life.

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