William Johns, 1907 and Pike Brothers, Queens Street, c1920
William Johns, 1907 and Pike Brothers, Queens Street, c1920

William Johns, Truth (Brisbane) 13 January 1907; Pike Brothers, Queen Street, Brisbane c1920, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. 23-year-old William Johns was an effeminate ‘queen’ with an elaborate dress code. Under cross-examination he stated:

Of an evening I do nothing. I come into town every night. I don’t stand at the Queen St corners … I am not a well-known character about the town. I have a good character. I do not know what a ‘city queen’ is (Mr Watson explains the meaning of the term to me) I am surprised to hear that is the term that is applied to me about the City. I have another hat similar to the Panama hat I have in court. I also have two straw hats at home. The band on my hat signifies nothing … I don’t know if it has a particular signification … I don’t know if the tie I am wearing bears a particular signification … the red flower I am now wearing … has no particular meaning.

Dr Joseph Espie Dods giving medical evidence admitted that he had ‘read and heard that men who permit other men to have connection with them become effeminate to a certain extent'. He went on to explain that '[i]t goes so far as to affect the person’s voice.’ Even at the initial hearing, the Police Magistrate ‘said he could not help taking notice of the complainant’s effeminate manner and voice and they were bound to operate on his mind’.

Collection of John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland image 67440
Location Node: 
Queen Street
Brisbane, QLD