Memories shared of a stalwart member of the community Ian McLean

This week, the SGLBA learnt of the sad passing of Ian McLean. Ian McLean passed away peacefully at his home on the 11 August 2020.  I was lucky to have met and to speak to Ian on several occasions and he was a true and inspiring leader of the LGBT+ community.

Ian was first introduced to the Gay Business Association (the predecessor of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association) in 1983 and have been a member since 1984 where he retained membership 001.

Ian was well known in Sydney’s gay and lesbian community with a long history as a DJ at community dances. He did his first mobile disco in 1959!

Ian McLean SGLBA Member 001

Ian was formally recognised for his leadership role within the community by Life Membership of the Three Sisters Social Group and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association and awarded a special award from the Pollies Club for services to that club. Born at Grenfell NSW, Ian went to Mosman Infants and Primary school then to WA from 1956 – 60. Ian moved to Chatswood in 1972 and from there to Carey Bay in 2007.

He was a retired company director after being in the Sound Industry for 42 years. In 2004 Ian sold his Sound Contracting business and his hire business in 2006.

Ian is survived by his partner Jack Williams.  Our sincere condolences go to Jack, and his brothers Robert and John.

Ian will be sadly missed.


Katherine Maver | SGLBA President + Jonny Heron | SGLBA Vice President

Ian’s lengthy membership of the SGLBA has meant he’s worked with many Presidents, board members and others over the years. The members below have shared their memories of Ian over the years.

SGLBA AGM October 2015 | (L-R) Simon Davies, Ian McLean & Mark Haines
SGLBA AGM October 2015 | (L-R) Simon Davies, Ian McLean & Mark Haines

‘Former SGLBA President and Life Member, Mark Haines said, ‘Ian was always a passionate advocate of the SGLBA, and indeed the community and its many organisations more broadly.

I valued his advice and guidance, particularly when I first became President, and he was nearly always at Fruits in Suits throughout its 22-year history.

In the last 2 years, he provided a wealth of information to us relating to the history of the association, which is now on the SGLBA website

The association is the richer for his support and contribution. My condolences to Ian’s family, and to his partner Jack.’

Mark Haines | SGLBA President 2012 – 2017

“Ian MacLean’s passing is both saddening and a shock. I can’t think of another individual who has worked so tirelessly and so selflessly, throughout his entire life, for the benefit of others. His community will miss him dearly. Rest in peace my inspirational friend.”

Simon Davies | SGLBA President 1999 – 2001

SGLBA Life Member

Tim Daly

SGLBA Life Member

“I will miss Ian very much. A gentle, friendly man who didn’t hesitate to chastise someone who couldn’t balance a PA system properly! He loved good sound and made it his career.

He was such a great supporter of mine. He helped me with gathering the history of the Association and appeared in my 2011 documentary on the SGLBA. 

One of his last projects was to leave a legacy for the community in the form of the Pink Drinks Network which we worked on together.”

SGLBA President 2007-2008

Scott Quinn

SGLBA President 2007-2008

“Ian was a very very nice person and top notch community member. Sad day today and I concur with all your thoughts.”

Founder & CEO ABBI | Author | SGLBA Life Member

Anthony Venn-Brown OAM

Founder & CEO ABBI | Author | SGLBA Life Member

“Ian was a giver and a community person, as reflected in the various organisations he was a part of, including the SGLBA. Some of my fondest memories of Ian are as the DJ at Pollys Club. Pollys quarterly dance was always like taking a step back in time.

Smiths chips and Cheezels in bowls on long tables, in the huge Marrickville Town Hall. Ian always matched the experience by playing all the gay classics we loved to dance (and sing along) to.

No duff duff……no mixing….and it wasn’t unusual for the people on the dance floor to burst into applause after some of the songs Ian played. Ian knew how to read the crowd.

Fond memories indeed. A good man. A community man. A giver. He’ll be missed.”