"The Yellow Line" Print Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Woods

Public artwork commemorates the Tasmanian gay community’s struggle for equality and its hope for a more accepting future. It features a pair of two metre by 20 centimetre light-boxes embedded in the footpath outside Parliament House. The boxes  contain words lit from behind, which mark the arrests 25 years ago and question what it means to 'cross a line'.

The artwork, which is the first of its kind in Australia, commemorates the gay rights arrests at Salamanca Market in 1988, which began the decade-long campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania, as well as the formal apology made by the Hobart City Council in 2008 for ordering the arrests. “The Yellow Line” represents the border of the Market which supporters of the stall would face arrest for crossing. The artwork also symbolises the hope for a more accepting future, as represented by the Council’s apology. A special plaque explaining the events of 1988 and 2008 accompanies the artwork.

In October 1988 the Hobart City Council banned a stall collecting signatures on a petition calling for homosexuality to be decriminalised, and ordered the arrests of anyone defying the ban. Over seven weeks 130 arrests were made, while hundreds more supporters protested from the Market’s verges, making the arrests the largest act of gay rights civil disobedience in Australian history. The Council finally backed down and allowed the stall on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 1988.

On the same day in 2008 then Lord Mayor, Rob Valentine, apologised for the arrests at an emotional civic reception for those who had been arrested.


Address:Salamanca Place , Hobart , 7000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -42.886062
Long: 147.330494
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Art
Monument Theme:Culture
Artist:Justy Phillips


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 16th May, 2013
Front Inscription

Forgive me for not holding you in my arms

In the wake of your courage I swim


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