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Sydney’s Gay Bookstore The Bookshop Darlinghurst Celebrates 40 Years

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The Bookshop Darlinghurst, Australia’s oldest LGBTQI bookstore, turns 40 this month.In recent years, The Bookshop has weathered the impacts of COVID, economic and political uncertainty and inclement weather, and for a while its future was precarious.

However, its investment in online selling and the support of the community has helped it to weather the storm. A post shared by The Bookshop Darlinghurst (@bookshopdarlo)The seed for The Bookshop Darlinghurst was planted in the 1970s while founding owner Les McDonald was on a holiday with his then partner in the United States.Seeing LGBTQI books advertised in the gay press, McDonald saw an untapped market in Australia.

On his return to Sydney, he started importing LGBTQI books and selling them via mail order. Soon the business was getting too large to operate out of home so they set up a bookshop on Crown Street in Surry Hills and then to their current location on Oxford Street.In the 1980s during the AIDS crisis, the Bookshop became a centre for information and community support as well as a safe space.

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