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Timeline: New Plymouth

24 June 1920

  • Albert Edward McGurk is released from New Plymouth Prison (New Plymouth). McGurk had been convicted in 1915 of committing an unnatural offence and had been jailed for 7-years with hard labour

1 December 1924

  • Music teacher John Leslie Lander dies in New Plymouth Prison (New Plymouth). Lander had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1915 for committing an unnatural offence, plus 10-years hard labour for indecent assault. He was known to have epileptic fits. His death was recorded as heart failure following a fit. Link: Papers Past

7 February 1925

  • NZ Truth reports The Dazzling Dandies - a prisoners' extravaganza at New Plymouth Prison (New Plymouth). Since 1917, New Plymouth Prison had mainly housed sexual offenders - including homosexualists. Link: NZ Truth


  • Henry Field conducts an investigation into homosexuality (New Plymouth). Field has an interest in the psychopathology of criminal behaviour and interviews 40 inmates at New Plymouth prison. The exact date of this investigation is unknown - circa 1926-1929. Link: Te Ara


  • The Prisons Department report 1935/36 is tabled in Parliament (New Plymouth). The report notes (p.22) "the desirability of keeping the mental outlook of the homo-sexual prisoners detained here as bright and sound as possible [...] Many evening entertainments and lectures have been provided by members of the public [...] It is helpful to see each prisoner trying his very best to excel. It is felt that these exercises and the effort put into the preparation of songs, music, recitations for concerts have an uplifting effect on the men.". Link: Prisons Department report

1 June 1944

  • NZ Truth reports on New Plymouth Prison (New Plymouth). Since 1917 the prison has housed sexual perverts, including homosexualists. The article notes "It should be borne in mind that the majority of homosexuals are men of intelligence, who have a thorough appreciation of the nature and the wrongness of their act and are consequently culpable at law.". Link: NZ Truth

5 April 1955

  • Politician Maryan Street is born (New Plymouth). Street became New Zealand's first openly out lesbian elected to Parliament in 2005. Link: Wikipedia

9 March 1984

  • A television interview is broadcast with a man who would become the first person to die from AIDS related conditions in New Zealand (New Plymouth). The 29-year-old man had been infected overseas and had come back from Sydney to New Plymouth. He dies in April 1984. Link: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1984

30 August 1986

  • A Women's Studies conference is held (New Plymouth)

24 April 1992

  • The Sheilas Arms begins a women only night (New Plymouth). The Shelias Arms later renames to Club 47. The building is demolished in October 1996. Link: Fiona Clark

July 1994

1 July 1995

  • The second annual Stonewall Ball is held (New Plymouth). The ball is to celebrate "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transpeople pride." It will be held at The Mill, 2 Powderham Street in New Plymouth. Link:

October 1996

  • The building that housed Club 47 is demolished (New Plymouth). The building also used be the home of the Shelias Arms in 1992. Link: Fiona Clark

14 March 1998

  • The Out of the Comfort Zone conference takes place (New Plymouth). The conference is organised by Taranaki Pride Alliance and is advertised as "a 2 day conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, takataapui and transpeople focusing on community building.". Link: