Tom and Klaus – Danish Immigrants to Australia

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Tom and Klaus are two senior Danish immigrants who came to Australia as young men in their twenties. They are talking with Mark and Lyndell about their experience in Australia in particular about different views on gender equality thirty years ago. Tom recounts a version of the incident in which the famous Australian feminist, Carole Ferrier, chained herself to the bar of the Regatta Hotel to protest the practice of segregated drinking at Australian Hotels.

Tom: Now without getting heavy on that but we were talking about woman’s liberation, yeah, in Australia. That was one of the first countries. And I was merely going to say that we didn’t have those things in Denmark. Women were equal in Denmark as far as I grow up.

Mark: Hm-mh

Klaus: They were in charge actually.

Tom: Yes.

(Laughter)

Tom: They run the show.

Klaus: They run the show.

Mark: That’s how it’s always been. The women run the show, don’t they? From behind the scenes.

Klaus: You were going to tell a story about you came to Melbourne and you walk in to this pub for the first time.

Tom: My first experience of that kind of separation of men and women, which I never had any understanding about…I never knew about that…and my first experience was in Melbourne. Down on the corner (there) was this pub and I am gonna go in with the boys and have a beer and then I thought, imagine all the girls. There’s no girls here. There are only men. (I said) Where’s all the girls? Well, women are not allowed in this bar here. It’s only men.

Mark: Public bar…the women and children used to sit in the Ladies’ Lounge.

Klaus: It was so awfully ugly, right? And unappetizing. Bad light and totally ugly, right? So no woman with respect for herself would sit in there…

Tom: All right and here comes then Germaine Greer…arrives…some years later… she arrives on the scene. And the next time I visit a pub was in Esk and two women walked into the public bar and said “We would like a beer” and they can’t get served in that bar and they said “No, we are not gonna move” and there was a lot of things about police and all sorts of things coming in to it and it was…in the newspaper.

Lyndell: And they chained themselves to the bar, or something didn’t they? Oh that was in Brisbane.

Klaus: That was in Coronation Drive, Regatta Hotel.

Tom: Yeah, well they did it up in Esk too. It was on then.

Mark: The English like British English, English Literature lecturer at university when I was there in 1979- 80, in Brisbane, St Lucia, she chained herself to the Regatta Hotel bar.

Klaus: The Regatta Hotel bar. That’s famous.

Mark: I wonder if she’s still around.

Klaus: Probably still is� The other one is…

Tom: Anyhow.  But that was just a talk.

Klaus: No, but that’s absolutely right And that was in ’72.

Tom: But it was that type of thing.

Klaus: It’s only bloody…sorry my French …33 years ago…32 years ago…

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