One of queer Sydney’s most glamorous annual events, the Aurora Dinner, is being held this month at Sydney Town Hall to raise money for needy community organisations.

The dinner, to be held on 25 June, will feature renowned photographer William Yang as the keynote speaker, with singers Toni Lamond and Angela Toohey providing entertainment. And organisers say the food will be spectacular.

The first Aurora Dinner was held in 2000 by the Aurora Group, which was founded by public relations guru Bruce Pollack with a group of friends who had experience volunteering in various LGBT community organisations. They named themselves after Aurora Australis, the rainbow-coloured Southern Lights.

We were interesting in coming together to do fundraising events around Stonewall day to celebrate the community, and also raise funds for non-HIV organisations, Aurora’s chairperson Jane Marsden said.

This was because the HIV sector is well catered for in fundraising and non-HIV organisations have difficulty raising their profile in that fundraising environment.

The main two charities to benefit from the Aurora Dinner are Twenty10 and the NSW Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service.

These are important organisations for us because they are there for people in trouble. People having trouble with their identity or with coming out need support in that area, Marsden said.

Last year Aurora also invited submissions for small funding grants and was able to help five other community organisations.

The first event in 2000 was held at Paddington Town Hall and attracted 380 people. This year they’re hoping to get 500 people to the Sydney Town Hall.

Out of the list of entertainers who have performed at the dinner over the last five years, Marsden said her favourites had been Todd McKenney, who has served our community and Aurora extremely well, and Jennifer Byrne, who sang songs from the 60s and was absolutely spectacular.

Tickets are available at and on 9331 5276.

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