THERE was anticipation in the air, and the stakes were high. Patrick Brookes had just been chosen to represent Australia as Mr Leather in the 1980 International Mr Leather contest and a red carpet event was being hosted at Stranded, a popular gay haunt in Sydney.

The contestants all arrived in Mercedes limousines, greeted by the who’s who of the leather community. It was a glittering, stud-filled affair, and one that took place on the heels of the first national Mr Leather competition the year before. The club was full, the Tooheys was flowing, and Brookes was a favourite with the crowd.

The support for Brookes was electric, and he carried it with him all the way to Chicago, where he became the first – and only – Australian to take home the crown.

(The Sydney Star is what the Star Observer was known as in 1980.)

The cover of The Sydney Star (vol.1, no.20) announcing Patrick Brookes as the winner of the local Mr Leather contest. Pictured is Brookes accepting his award at Stranded, a popular gay haunt in Sydney. He went on to represent Australia in the 1980 International Mr Leather Contest and won.

The cover of The Sydney Star (vol.1, no.20) announcing Patrick Brookes as the winner of the 1980 Australian Mr Leather contest. Pictured is Brookes accepting his award at Stranded, a popular gay haunt in Sydney. He went on to represent Australia in the 1980 International Mr Leather contest and won.

The front page story  (The Sydney Star, vol.1, no.20) announcing Patrick Brookes as the winner of the local Mr Leather contest.

The front page story (The Sydney Star, vol.1, no.20) announcing Patrick Brookes as the winner of the 1980 Australian Mr Leather contest.

Scene photos (The Sydney Star, vol.1, no.20) from the 1980 Australian Mr Leather Awards, in which Patrick Brookes won.

Scene photos (The Sydney Star, vol.1, no.20) from the 1980 Australian Mr Leather Awards.

The Sydney Star (vol.1, no.22) with the Australian winner of the 1980 International Mr Leather Contest, Patrick Brookes, on the cover.

The Sydney Star (vol.1, no.22) with the Australian winner of the 1980 International Mr Leather Contest, Patrick Brookes, on the cover.

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**This article was first published in the October edition of the Star Observer, which is available to read in digital flip-book format. To obtain a physical copy, click here to find out where you can grab one in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and select regional/coastal areas.

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