Dr. George DuncanPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Peter de Waal

A monument commemorates George Duncan, Law lecturer at the University of Adelaide, who was savagely beaten and drowned after being thrown into the River Torrens in 1972. The monument was erected near the site of the murder on the 30th anniversary of his death.  

The plaque on the monument is in the shape of a triangle, and in NAZI Germany known homosexuals were send to the concentration camps and were signified by having to wear a pink triangle.  Other groups (Jews, Gypsies, and others) in the concentration camps had to wear a similar badge but in a different colour. In the early days of the Australian homosexual liberation movement, around the early 1970s, the pink triangle was reclaimed as sign of liberation. 

Dr Duncan's murder never resulted in a conviction and it was very controversial due the fact that Dr Duncan was a homosexual and it was believed that members of the police force were implicated in the crime.  

On 30 September 1988, two ex-members of the vice squad were acquitted of Duncan's manslaughter. A police task force interviewed eighty-one people and reported to parliament in April 1990 that there was 'insufficient evidence to charge any other person'.

His murder was significant because public outrage generated by the murder became the trigger for homosexual law reform that led to South Australia becoming the first Australian State to decriminalise homosexuality.


Address:Kintore Avenue, near River Torrens, Adelaide , 5000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.916702
Long: 138.601602
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event STart Date:10-May-1972
Actual Event End Date:10-May-1972


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 10th May, 2002
Front Inscription

In memory of Dr George Duncan, whose death by drowning on 10th May, 1972, near here, at the hands of persons unconvicted, precipitated homosexual law reform in South Australia, making it the first state in Australia in 1975 to decriminalise homosexual relations.

We will remember him.

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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