The Wickham – An Iconic Brisbane Venue Celebrates 135 Years In Business

Written by Jesse Chaffey
Category: General Published: Friday, 26 March 2021 14:10

Iconic LGBTQIA+ Brisbane venue The Wickham is celebrating 135 years in 2021. Technically this birthday was in 2020 – but proper celebrations couldn't be had amidst the pandemic.

Throughout its 135-year history, the heritage-listed Wickham has proudly supported the queer community, providing a safe space for all patrons regardless of gender identity, race or sexuality.

It's also the home of Big Gay Day, an annual street party celebration of the community established in 2000. Big Gay Day has seen main stage performances from Boy George, Courtney Act and Melanie C (Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls).

Here, we chat to Venue Manager Stuart Black as he reflects on The Wickham's massive history and looks to its potential-filled future.

Tell us a bit about your role as Venue Manager and what it entails.
In short, being Venue Manager means I’m responsible for making sure everyone stays safe and has a good time – our patrons, our staff and the artists we work with.

What's your favourite part about managing a venue like this?
It’s a genuine community hub, it’s very special to be part of something that brings people together.

Why do you think it's important for LGBTQIA+ people to have places like The Wickham to call home?
It’s so important to us to provide a space where everybody can feel free to express their true selves and fly their flag, whatever rainbow colour that may be. We pride ourselves on being a hub of the community, a place where people can feel comfortable and free of judgement to meet new people, connect and create relationships.

Tell us about The Wickham's vibe and what it's all about, for those who may not have been before.
The Wickham is a grand old Queensland pub, with a very glittery history! We have a gorgeous beer garden where we host our weekly trivia, drag queen talk show 'Vollie And Friends' and our live music and drag shows on Friday and Saturday nights. We serve some delicious food truck style food from our container kitchen and our bartenders make a mean Wickham Espresso Martini! We’re all about being a proud LGBTQIA+ venue where everybody feels free to express themselves and just have a good time.

MelanieC BigGayDay20
Melanie C and Sink The Pink performing at Big Gay Day 2020.

And Big Gay Day is coming up soon – what's going on at the 2021 event?
Ahh! We are so excited to be bringing the big gay rainbow fun to 2021! This year our line-up is headlined by Confidence Man, Alice Ivy, Karen From Finance, Samantha Jade and a mega drag performance with over 30 local performers, plus a whole lot more. We’re also planning on marrying some couples that have had their plans derailed by COVID or just want to have an epic festival reception in our pop-up chapel.

What do you think has kept the venue so well-known and well-loved after all this time?
Our amazing staff play a massive part in this, they are an integral part in representing who we are and we are blessed to have such an amazing team.

And how do you plan to, in the near (and far!) future, keep that momentum going at The Wickham?
We have so much fun planned for the rest of the year and beyond! We will continue to support local LGBTQIA+ artists and performers and putting on events to bring the community together. We are excited to launch a delicious new menu, featuring a deep fried Golden Gaytime, after Easter, so keep your eyes peeled on that!

The Wickham is at 308 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley (Brisbane). Big Gay Day 2021 takes place on 2 May.

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