Soapbox Speakers

Photo Gallery

The first photo below, of John Webster, was generously provided by ex-speaker, Victor Zammit,  from his website of pictures, where many more photos can be found. Victor also has a website about the afterlife:


John Webster. Before the 1980s people came especially to listen to the speakers. John was one of the favourites.

Three more of John Webster, taken in May, 1971 by Philip Ulman.




The following five photographs were also generously provided by ex-speaker, Victor Zammit. Thank you, Victor.


The good Mr Armstrong tried for many years to save souls in the Domain.

Kay orator

Mr McKay talking about ‘Individual effort’. 1918.

“Australia operated an immigration policy explicitly based on ethnicity and did so with the agreement of both political parties. There was even a European dictation test, in which you had to prove you spoke at least one  European language. It was a policy, incidentally and hilariously, used by the government in 1934 to block the entry of the European communist Egon Kisch. The fine print of the dictation test didn’t identify which European language was to be used, so officials tested the lefty troublemaker in Scottish Gaelic. He spoke 10 languages, but not that one. Ha, ha. Alas, for the government of the day, the Australian courts came down on Kisch’s side – concluding that officials had made inappropriate use of the dictation test – and so he was permitted, on 17 February 1935, to address a crowd of 18,000 in the Sydney Domain. He used the speech to predict that Adolf Hitler was planning to start World War II. Yep, what a dangerous radical.”
  The land before Avocado, Richard Glover.


This photograph of Egon Kisch, a Czech journalist, was taken in 1935, four years before Hitler invaded Poland to begin World War II. Many Australians thought highly of Adolf Hitler up until then because he had transformed Germany’s economy. Egon Kisch thought otherwise, and stood on his soapbox to warn us all.


Sister Ada

Sister Ada from the Salvation Army singing hymns for the sinners. Photo from the Sydney Morning Herald.

The photo below is of Victor Zammit himself. At one point Victor had two thousand listeners.

Victor Zammit attracting a younger audience.

Victor Zammit attracted a younger audience.

The three photos below were generously provided by superb photographer, Greg Dickins, who took them in 1970. He is still photographing, and teaches photography at  Photo Sydney.

Sister Ida

The popular Sister Ada appears to be the Lady Gaga of the 1970s. (Photo by Greg Dickins.)

Mad eye

Speakers’ Corner was a place to be heard. A point of view mattered.
(Photo by Greg Dickins, 1970)


Fly catcher

Trying to catch flies? About to be lynched? We will never know.
(Photo by Greg Dickins, 1970)

The photo below is of the poet, Denis Kevans, speaking in the Domain in the 1960’s. The photo appears with permission from his daughter, Sophia.

It looks like Denis has a bodyguard! Notice how there are no buildings visible in the background.

Poet Denis Kevans.

In 1970 and 1971 Daniel Ford took many photographs at Speakers’ Corner and in 2018 he placed the most splendid of them in a book. Here are some of those photos:

Photo under the copyright of Daniel Ford.




You can buy Daniel’s book. It is A4  80gsm double-sided laser-printed, with laminated covers, comb-bound. The photos in both books (hard copy and PDF) have a much higher resolution than in the above examples.
Hard copy: including postage: $26
PDF file (via download link): $12
To get a copy contact Daniel:

Some more photos provided by Victor Zammit:

This fellow in the Australian National Alliance T-shirt is in the group below, on the right, speaking. He’s the blurred face on the right-hand side.



The Skull
The photograph below might give an indication of what the outspoken Ross “The Skull” May spruiked. (Thanks to Victor Zammit for the following three photographs.) Ross (left) spoke at Speakers’ Corner for many years, and riled one or two members of the Jewish community.





 The photo below was taken in 2011, and was warmly given by photographer Melvyn Knipe, of Central Magazine. We are grateful to Melvyn and Central Magazine for their permission to use the photograph. To see some gorgeous photos visit Melvyn’s site


Hemut & cops

Helmut entertains the constabulary.
(Photo by Melvyn Knipe,

Helmut hasn’t always earned the favour of the police. A few months after this photo was taken an officer sent him on his way for releasing a few colourful words. See  the video, Helmut’s complaint, for more details.


Warren and sign

This is Warren.

A passer-by caught the Speakers' Corner dog 'borrowing' a sandwich from the occupied Mr Bashful.

The Speakers’ Corner dog is borrowing a sandwich from Mr Bashful. Thank you to the passer-by who kindly sent the photo.

Armita Abdollahian took these two photos of Steve in July, 2016. Thank you, Armita.


Steve Maxwell, witnessing a ghost?

Here is another. What a difference colour and expression can make!


Steve Maxwell at Speakers’ Corner, Sydney.

We have a pretty good backdrop!


If the listeners have had enough, we generously provide an art gallery across the road. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Honan)

Thank you to Narelle Jarvis for the photo of Tony Boyce below.

Tony Boyce, with Jovo nearby. (Photo by Narelle Jarvis, Jan 2010)

We even have some lookalikes:








  1. The “mad” guy in the seventh picture up from the bottom reminds of Warwick Willett (aka Wally Wombat), who spoke from time to time in the mid- late 1970s. Does anyone recall this man (born August 1945)? He claimed to be the leader of the one member NATIONAL WOMBAT PARTY. Supposedly, a Vietnam War national serviceman, originally from Kempsey NSW


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