24 February 2022

Why is it so? - A history of the early Brisbane punk scene

This week we talk to Virginia Clarke from the Brisbane Labour History Association. Virginia has had a lifetime of rank-and-file activism in unions and the Labor Party. In the late 70s and early 80s Virginia was also involved in the Brisbane punk scene, which, like the punk explosion the world over, was a movement of working class youth. In Brisbane, the punk scene displayed a particularly sharp edge due to Queensland's cultural and political conservatism and the behaviour of the cops who were notorious for meting out 'special treatment' to punks, First Nations people and anyone who publicly expressed dissent. During this turbulent time Virginia found herself enrolled in a degree at UQ, where she found the middle class culture of higher education and student life alienating. For working class students like Virginia, punk identity became a source of strength and up-yours confidence.

Outro song: Pig City by The Parameters