Stodden, Keith Papers
Span Dates: 1951-2020
Volume: 24 boxes
Keith Stodden’s papers document his involvement in various peace, religious and gay and lesbian community organisations in Melbourne, as well as at a national and international level. Of relevance are papers documenting Stodden’s involvement with the Metropolitan Community Church Melbourne, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches District of Australia, Christ’s Community Church, Uniting Church, Uniting Church Gay Group, Uniting Network, Lesbian and Gay Christian Network, Gay Christian Collective, New Wave Christian Fellowship Church, Acceptance Melbourne, Anti-Festival of Light Campaign, AngGays [Anglican gay group], Gay Christian Spiritual Support Group (later Victorian AIDS Council Spiritual Support Working Group), Australian Gay and Lesbian Ecumenical Community, Australian Gay and Lesbian Inter-Faith Federation, and The CAPE Centre (Churches AIDS and related diseases Pastoral Care and Education Inc.).
Keith Stodden was born in Epworth Hospital, Richmond, growing up in South Camberwell and Elsternwick, attending South Camberwell State School, Malvern Central School, and Wesley College. In 1949 Stodden joined the Department of Immigration part-time, while also undertaking studies in German, Italian, French and Russian at Melbourne University, graduating at the end of 1952. Returning to full-time work with the Department of Immigration as an immigration agent, Stodden was based at Bonegilla Migrant Camp and Station Pier for the subsequent 41 years.
Stodden developed an abiding interest in trams from his early life in South Camberwell, where a tram stop was located almost outside his house on Bourke Road, he later becoming an active member of various community-based tram organisations, the Melbourne Tram Museum (Friends of Hawthorn Tram Depot), Tramway Museum Society of Victoria, Australian Electric Traction Association, etc.
Stodden was a peace activist from the early 1950s, involved with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Australian Peace Council, Victorian Peace Council, Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament, Pacifist Movement of Victoria, Federal Pacifist Council, and Elwood-St Kilda Peace Fellowship, St. Kilda-Brighton Peace Action Group, and Methodist Commission on Peace, and Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament (CICD). From the mid-1960s he was involved in anti-Vietnam activism including the Moratorium Marches. Following the War, Stodden also became involved with supporting groups such as the Vietnam Australia Society.
Keith Stodden’s grandfather was a Methodist Minister for sixty years, and Stodden was an active member of the South Camberwell Methodist Church from his early teens and went to Wesley College where he took Divinity with Rev Rex Mathias and undertook Christian Summer Schools at Methodist Ladies College. He discovered the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in an ‘ecstatic experience’ in Los Angeles in October 1975, leading to membership of MCC Melbourne from April 1976, where he became a prominent member, active its administration, as a leader and lay preacher. He also extended his engagement with MCC through its national and international networks. Stodden was also active with the Uniting Church from June 1977, and the Gay Christian Collective.
Stodden’s involvement in the gay community began with Society Five, where he was a founding member, long term Vice President and a member of the Membership Committee from its founding in 1971 through to 1979. Throughout the 1970s and up to the 2010s Stodden was an active member and Committee Member of a great range of community organisations, including Acceptance Melbourne, Gay and Married Men’s Association (GAMMA), ALSO Foundation, Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force, Victorian AIDS Council, Multicultural Gay Social Group, Gay Nudists Victoria, Vintage Men, etc.
Additional information: Keith Stodden was interviewed by Daniel Vaughan in the Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories Oral History Project, 2013, National Library of Australia (https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn6390066), a copy also held by AQuA; Keith Stodden Collection, Melbourne Tram Museum.
A finding aid is available in the AQuA reading room.
This collection is housed at the Australian Queer Archives in Melbourne, Australia.
79-81 Fitzroy Street
St Kilda, VIC 3182
Australia | MCC | Melbourne