SwanCon 7 – Program Book – Essay

Transcription by Anna Hepworth

(being a transcription of page 11 and part of page 13 of the SwanCon 7 Program Book)

A History of the Beast

A name to strike terror into the hearts of the staunchest mens, women and little pink furry things from Alpha Centauri; SWANCON! What abominations have been perpetrated in its name, what foul and perverted deeds plotted and executed? History rings to the ominous doom of its syllables–SWANCON, SWANCON, SWANCON …

Well, not really. Not even a little bit. This small piece of somnambulistic prose is designed to reveal the dark history of Swancon, for Those Who Don’t Know.

Swancon 1 was the result of the meeting of three West Australian fans at the 1975 Worldcon, Aussiecon, held in Melbourne. In 1976 Grant Stone, Cliff Wind and Tony Peacey organised the first West Australian convention. Named Swancon, it was from its small membership that WASFA, the West Australian Science Fiction Association began. It has been almost solely this group and its members who have organised the succeeding conventions, including Swancon 7.

A year after Swancon 1, in the October of 1977, Swancon 2 was organised at the Belmont Community Centre. Over one hundred members were paid up for its three days, quite a remarkable figure. This figure, and the success of Swancon 2, were repeated at Swancon 3. Despite its remote location at Murdoch University, the convention held in August 1978, was enough to inspire another convention to be held just nine months later in March 1979.

Swancon 4, also known as Waycon in view of the sesquicent-enary celebrations for the state, was the first WA convention to be held in a hotel; the Ozone. It was also the first Swancon to have fans attending from outside of WA, and a guest-of-honour; Leigh Edmonds, a prominent Eastern States fan. The convention was judged well-run, and enjoyed enough by its attendees, that a bid was organised for the nineteenth Australian Natcon with the back-ing of Leigh and other Eastern Staters. At Syncon ’79 in Sydney the Perth in ’80 bid was won. The next convention in Perth, Swancon 5, would also be the 1980 Australian National Convention.

Such a convention was a far larger proposition than anything previously organised in Western Australia. Held at the Park Towers in September 1980, the convention had as its guest-of-honour, author ANNE McCAFFREY. A large contingent of Eastern States fen arrived for the most successful and biggest convention that WA fan-dom has seen.

The last con, Swancon 6, was a far more relaxed affair than its predecessor. Held at the George in Fremantle, formerly a hotel but now an alternative school, the convention was marked by its loose programming and emphasis on mainly having fun. Guest-of-Honour was local fan and writer, Tony Peacey. The con took place over Easter of last year.

Such a brief history can give no idea of the way in which each Swancon had its own flavour and mood; nor of the events and people that made each different. This convention, Swancon 7, will be important in its own way; not only does it look like being one of the better conventions WA has seen, but it will depend upon it and

To P. 13

the support it receives how soon WA will see the eighth Swancon. As they say, we shall see ….

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