For those who might remember, last year’s (2011) SwanCon was touted as NatCon 50, implying to the literal minded, that there have been a preceeding 49 NatCons. A little lazy wandering around the web finds insufficient information about these. Yes, wikipedia does list those from 1999 onwards (included below, lifted wholesale). But our very own Australian SF wiki?
If we try the obvious—http://wiki.sf.org.au/Natcon—what we find is a very useful page about the legalities and logistics of running a NatCon, but nothing useful about the history of such. Similarly, looking at the NatCon category— http://wiki.sf.org.au/Category:Natcon—we can find several highly exciting Natcon business meeting minutes (and the occasional agenda), two versions of the Ditmar rules and some assorted other administrative pages (total 21 links). These are all highly valuable records, but don’t actually get us back past 2001.
Another valuable find—http://sf.org.au/natconcom/— is “the website of the standing committee of the business meeting of the Australian Science Fiction Convention”. But still, doesn’t get us back to those early NatCons.
The NatCon50 people helpfully tell us that Perth has already hosted 9 (count them, 9!) Natcons, making NatCon50 the tenth to grace the Western shores. Four of them are listed in the table below, being 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008. When were the other five? If we check the SwanCon History wiki page, we find that 1980, being SwanCon 5, was the 19th Natcon, then 1986 (SwanCon 11) also being listed as a NatCon, which leaves us rather short of the claimed 9. What is missing? [Hint: if you know any answers to these questions, putting them on the wiki would be good!]
One thing we should remember – that prior to the late ’90s, when the Media and Lit NatCons were combined, there was not a single NatCon. Whether the NatCon50 people are counting from the first of the earliest of these to start, or specifically for one or other of these, no indication is given.
Table below sourced from wikipedia.
|No||Date||Name||Location||Guests of Honour|
|September 1999||Spawncon II (part of Aussiecon III, the 57th Worldcon)||Melbourne||(none)|
|April 2000||Swancon 25||Perth||Connie Willis and Ian Nichols.|
|40||April 2001||Swancon 2001, Masquerade||Perth||Robert Silverberg, Karen Haber, Rosaleen Love, Marilyn Pride, Lewis Morley, Kate Orman, and Sue Ackerman|
|41||7-10 June 2002||Convergence||Melbourne||Joe & Gay Haldeman, Lucy Sussex, Sean Williams, and (fan) Race Mathews|
|42||April 2003||Swancon 2003||Perth||Lynn Flewelling, Tony Shillitoe, Fiona McIntosh, and (fan) Justin Ackroyd|
|43||April 2004||Conflux||Canberra||Greg Benford, Sean McMullen, and (fan) Karen Herkes|
|44||June 2005||Thylacon III||Hobart||Anne Bishop, Marianne de Pierres, and (fan) Merv Binns|
|45||April 2006||Conjure||Brisbane||Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, Sean Willaims, Kim Wilkins, and (fan) Erica Lacey|
|46||8–11 June 2007||Convergence 2||Melbourne||Isobelle Carmody, Fred Gallagher, Dave Freer, and (fan) Cath Ortlieb|
|47||20–24 March 2008||Swancon 33||Perth||Ken Macleod, Rob Shearman, Glenda Larke, and (fan) Zara Baxter|
|48||5–8 June 2009||Conjecture||Adelaide||Julie E. Czerneda, and (fans) Steve & Catherine Scholz|
|49||2–6 September 2010||Dudcon III (part of Aussiecon IV, the 68th Worldcon)||Melbourne||Peter Watts, Helen Merrick, and (fan) Jacob Blake|
|50||21–25 April 2011||Swancon Thirty Six Natcon Fifty||Perth||Ellen Datlow, Justina Robson, Sean Williams, and (fan) Sarah Xu|