Memorials to honour Activist Phil Carswell in Brisbane And Melbourne

Memorials to honour Activist Phil Carswell in Brisbane And Melbourne
Image: Phil Carswell

Communities in Brisbane and Melbourne will come together to honour the memory of activist Phil Carswell, a prominent figure in political advocacy for the LGBTIQ+ community.

Carswell’s extensive contributions over four decades have made an incredible impact on the LGBTQIA+ community in Victoria, Brisbane and throughout Australia, notably his pioneering work in HIV/AIDS education.

Phil passed away due to ill health in Brisbane in March 2024.

Brisbane and Melbourne Memorials for Phil Carswell

Following the passing of Phil Carswell there was an outpouring of tributes from around the country from those who knew or worked with Phil, including a touching tribute from Queensland Premier Steven Miles.

As such public memorials have now been arranged to allow people to pay their respects to Phil.

The Brisbane memorial is scheduled for Thursday, April 11, inside the Speakers Hall on Level 3 of the Parliamentary Annexe building.

The service will begin at 12 pm, attendees are invited to gather from 11:30am.

Attendees will have the opportunity to connect and share stories of Phil and his amazing life afterwards.

In Melbourne, a memorial will be held on Monday, April 22, starting at 3 pm at The Edge in Federation Square.

This memorial was announced by Thorne Harbour Health, formerly the Victorian AIDS Council, of which he was the first president.

Remembering Phil Carswell

Phil Carswell’s dedication and tireless advocacy have earned him widespread respect.

Janet Jukes, President of Thorne Harbour Health, described him as a true legend, recognising his remarkable contributions to collective health and wellbeing within the LGBTIQ+ communities.

Carswell’s journey in activism began during his university days at Monash, where he championed gay rights and co-organized the first National Homosexual Conference in Melbourne.

His leadership during the HIV/AIDS crisis was pivotal, as he navigated through challenging times, providing support, guidance and leadership to the community.

Throughout his career, Carswell maintained close ties with various political and social circles, effectively bridging gaps and fostering collaboration between different groups.

His leadership style, marked by empathy and understanding, helped instil hope and resilience during difficult periods in our history.

Recognising his significant achievements, Phil Carswell was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2015.

Despite his relocation to Brisbane, he remained committed to his advocacy work, leaving a lasting impact on both local and national levels, working for and later advising Queensland Health.

Adam Carr, a longtime friend and colleague, fondly remembers Carswell’s dedication and enthusiasm when they met at University.

“He would come in with story ideas and I remember him as this funny, bouncy little guy who talked a lot and had lots of good stuff to say” he recalled.

The two would later go on to work together on the first National Homosexual Conference.

As the community gathers to remember Phil Carswell, his legacy as a true hero and pioneer in LGBTQI+ advocacy will continue to inspire future generations.

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