Bobby Goldsmith

Bobby Goldsmith (8 March 1946 – 18 June 1984) was an outstanding athlete and proud member of the Sydney gay community. In 1982, he won 17 of the Australian team’s 21 medals for swimming at the inaugural Gay Olympics, held in San Francisco.

Gay Games, 1982. Image courtesy of the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.

By 1983, Bobby was terminally ill from AIDS-related causes. In August 2017, Bobby’s friend, Allan Goodchild, who was a bartender at the Oxford Hotel in the early 1980s, described what this time was like to the Sydney Morning Herald. Allan Goodchild said:

undertakers would demand double bagging of bodies. Food trays would be left at the door of hospital wards. The front page of newspapers had headlines saying the disease was being spread by mosquitos… it was a very bad time.

Bobby Goldsmith (left) and Bobby and Ken (right). Images courtesy of the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.

In this climate, Bobby Goldsmith’s friends and his community rallied to provide him with the practical support and care he needed. This enabled him to maintain his independence until his death in June 1984. One month after his death, the group that formed to support Bobby became the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation became famous for its fundraising bake-offs. The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation still provides support and care to people living with HIV and AIDS today.

Bobby Goldsmith. Image courtesy of the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.
Bobby Goldsmith Quilt Panel. Image courtesy of Thorne Harbour Health and the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

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