Kens At Kensington Closing Its Doors

Kens At Kensington Closing Its Doors
Kens At Kensington Closing Its Doors

Nothing lasts forever, and it seems that every week comes news that a bathhouse somewhere in the world is shutting its doors. This time it is the historic Ken’s in Sydney Australia that is calling it quits.

After more than 40 years of serving the gay community in Sydney, steam will be shut off for good on May 20. The reason for its closing is not financial. But the selling of the building that houses Kens at Kensington.

“It is with regret that I can confirm that Ken’s at Kensington will be closing due to the sale of the building,” owner Reiner Becker, said in a statement. “Our last day of trading will be May 20 — until then it is business as usual.”

With the closing of this national treasure in Sydney’s LGBT community, the mantel now falls to King Steam. They will be Sydney’s longest-operating steam bath, having opened its doors in 1974.

The Sydney Morning Herald wrote

The infamous sex-on-premises venue on Anzac Parade started life in 1973 after original owner Ken “Kandy” Johnson moved into what had been the home of another Sydney gay icon, the Purple Onion drag venue.

The site was originally known as Ken’s Karate Klub, then Kensington Karate Klasses, an in-joke at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in NSW to explain why there were rubber mats all over the floors and “occasional sounds of groaning” from within.

Becker said he had no plans to relocate the business to a new location and that the farewell, when it comes, will be a low-key affair.

To read more click to Ken’s at Kensington to close

1 Comment

  1. Such a shame. I wrote about a fictional bathhouse in my last novel, and I added another bathhouse chapter in the upcoming sequel. I like to try to preserve what’s left, and a lot of places, from what I’ve found, are now bathhouses posing as health clubs. I often wonder if this is to give the impression it’s not a bathhouse. I’d love to read a post about this.

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