History Seminar Series
School of Humanities and Social Science,
The University of Newcastle
2010, Semester 1
Held in the Cultural Collections (near the Information Desk)
Level 2, Auchmuty Library, Callaghan Campus
10am- 11am, followed by morning tea
12th March 2010
Dr James Bennett (History, University of Newcastle)
‘Keeping the Wolfenden from the Door? Same-sex relations and the ‘medical model’ in Post-war New Zealand’.
Although the 1957 Wolfenden Report on homosexuality and prostitution was a British document, it nevertheless played a palpable role in debates among the ‘overseas British’ on the manifestation and regulation of male homosexuality. This paper will place discussion of Wolfenden and its impact on New Zealand in a broader and more nuanced British World context by considering transnational networks of influence in that debate with particular reference to people, ideas and fears. Central to this discussion will be medical and psychiatric interpretations of homosexuality, which frequently referenced the Wolfenden report in medical literature of the 1960s. The medical model and its reception of homosexuality will be structured around three episodes in post-Second World War New Zealand: the Parker-Hulme murder of 1954, the 1959 Crimes Bill, and the 1964 Hagley Park murder of Charles Aberhart.