12 Feb 2024

Our Urbis Sydney office is thrilled to co-host with Queers in Property the exclusive Queers in Property, Love and Legacy: Qtopia Sydney Valentine’s Day Preview event. This incredible event marks the countdown to the Qtopia Sydney grand opening scheduled for February 23rd, perfectly timed to coincide with 2024 Mardi Gras.

When Qtopia Sydney opens, it will be the largest queer museum in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first centre for Queer History and Culture in Sydney.

Greg Fisher, CEO of Qtopia Sydney, and board member, Ian Roberts, will lead the informative session during the event, sharing insights into the museum’s remarkable journey and vision.

In celebration of this exclusive gathering and the imminent grand opening by the Prime Minister, the Premier and Lord Mayor, we had the privilege of speaking with Urbis Director, Jonathan Bryant about the importance of queer history, culture and the remarkable Qtopia Sydney museum.

Jacqui Parker, Jonathan and their teams collaborated closely with Qtopia Sydney, offering Planning and Heritage services to support the museum’s endeavours. You can read more about our involvement with Qtopia Sydney here. 


Thanks for joining us Jonathan –

Firstly, what are the unique aspects that set Qtopia Sydney apart as the largest queer museum in the Southern Hemisphere and the first centre in Sydney dedicated to Queer History and Culture?

Qtopia Sydney will talk about the past and the future and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ experience. For people of my generation this is particularly exciting to see how much positive change has occurred over my lifetime after so many previous generations experienced so much cruelty and discrimination.

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Sydney has long been home to one of the world’s largest and most vibrant LGBTQIA+ communities and is home to one of the world’s greatest and most flamboyant LGBTQIA+ parades, the Sydney Mardi Gras.

So it is fitting that Qtopia Sydney is located in the middle of the parade route that has just been added to the NSW State Heritage Register for its cultural values.

Qtopia Sydney feels like an exhilarating manifestation of that positive change and I’m so proud we could be a part of the journey.

Can you provide insight into how the collaboration between Urbis and Qtopia Sydney came about, and what motivated Urbis to offer Heritage and Planning services to support the museum’s development?

I was approached by transgender woman and educator, Katherine Wolfgramme, who is a Qtopia Sydney Ambassador. Katherine is a great personal friend and a wonderful connector, and she put me in touch with Qtopia Sydney CEO, Greg Fisher.

Greg was pitching to occupy a heritage listed building and I offered my team’s services and then went about pitching the idea to our charitable giving committee who quickly agreed. The early stages of the project were pro bono. Jacqui Parker in our Planning Team then joined me in supporting the project. We always love collaborating with our Planning Team.

At Urbis our aim is to create cities and communities for a better future and the Qtopia Sydney vision felt perfectly aligned. Qtopia Sydney will provide transformative stories of LGBTQIA+ history and experiences to broaden the knowledge and perspectives of students, educators, and the general public, through innovative education participatory programs.

Qtopia Sydney, a registered not-for-profit organisation, is committed to empowerment, inclusivity, celebration, challenge, and education. Their public exhibitions, temporary displays, and community engagement and education programs are resolute in their intent to represent the history and culture of the LGBTQIA+ community with integrity, authenticity and accuracy. 


I’ve always felt that I can bring my authentic self to work at Urbis. As a gay man and a Director at Urbis this was a real passion project for me and a way that I felt I could give back to my community.


What were some highlights or memorable moments from Urbis’s collaboration with Qtopia Sydney, and how do you believe this partnership has contributed to the success of the museum’s development?

We were able to offer innovative Planning and Heritage advice in record time to allow Stage 1, the temporary home in the Green Park Bandstand, to open in time for Sydney World Pride and to allow Stage 2, which is the permanent Museum, to open in time for Mardi Gras 2024. What a ride!

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The most memorable moment was experiencing the police cells in the museum for the first time. 

Qtopia Sydney is located in the heritage listed former Darlinghurst Police Station. This is where the marchers of the first Sydney Mardi Gras were arrested by Darlinghurst Police in 1978 and brutalised overnight simply for being gay or lesbian. You can imagine what it was like to enter those cells as a gay man in 2023 thinking of those that went before me that sacrificed to allow me to live the life I enjoy today. 

As a leading consultancy in urban development and planning, what do you see as the broader significance or impact of collaborations like the one between Urbis, Queers in Property, and Qtopia Sydney in fostering inclusive and vibrant cities?

I believe Qtopia Sydney benefited from having a highly professional company like Urbis by their side. It definitely gave their partners at the City of Sydney, Property NSW, and Create NSW a lot of comfort.

But it was also very beneficial for Urbis to be working on a cultural project that felt so closely aligned to our vision for cities and communities. It really was a win win. I also felt it was incredible as an engagement driver. I know the Heritage and Planning Teams really felt like they were contributing to something important with the Qtopia Sydney project. I know we are all so proud of the outcome!

There are still tickets remaining for the exclusive Queers in Property, Love and Legacy: Qtopia Sydney Valentine’s Day Preview event – secure your ticket before you miss out!


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