On previous history attempts

ASFDAP, and such wonderful other things as the Australian SF wiki, and the Meteor foundation are by no means fandoms first attempts at keeping records of Australian SF history and making it available to people. While I won’t make any claims to knowing how long this activity has been going on, I do know that one person championing this activity in the 1990s was Sue Ann Barber. When she relocated from Perth to places further east she passed on some of the materials that she had collected.

These materials have been lurking in the back of a cupboard, moving house with me (more than once), and snuck out this week to trip me up. At first glance, it looks like Sue Ann did much brainstorming, and had many things I should have followed up on, such as a list of clubs for consideration. Some of these (UniSFA*, The West Lodge, UniGames) are definitely still running as I write, but I’m sure at least some of them were defunct at the point that the list was written. What is on the list? (groupings are approximate, based on the group memory Right Now)

General SF – WASFA (Western Australian Science Fiction Association), SAFFA
University clubs – UniSFA, CIA, MARS (Murdoch Alternate Reality Society)/SAGA (Southern Area Gaming Association)
Fandom specific clubs (TV/movies) – The West Lodge (Doctor Who), Westrek (Star Trek), Dark Star, JAFWA (Japanese Animation Fans of Western Australia), The West Lodge Sherlock Holmes Society, The Neutral Zone (Star Trek), Perth Blake’s Seven Club**, Sam and Friends (Jim Henson***), Northern Anime Megazone, Jump Point (Star Trek?)
Gaming – Gamer’s Guild, UniGames, Hills War Gaming Club
Historical re-enactment – Grey Company, SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism)

Misc I don’t recognise – Area A, SICCO, Network 23, Fannish Monthly, Cappucino Bar, Menalis Folding Society, Active Imagination, Starbase Perth, Club Asimov, Gamma Quadrant, Ten Forward, Shada, Free for All, Twonks Anonymous, AD Police, NAGA (Northern Area Gaming Association).

There are also some crossed out – DWAS, Dr Who Bunch.

We’d love to know more about some of these. Were you involved? Do you have materials that relate to one or more of them? I know I went to one of the largest fannish events ever out at Murdoch Uni, run by the Neutral Zone, when the Star Trek: The Next Generation Tribbles episode came out. I can’t be sure, but I think that there were something like 600 people across multiple lecture theatres (I’m fairly sure that the two 300+ seat ones were full. Then again, I may have wandered in and out of the same lecture theatre multiple times, thinking it was a different one)

* website here, although it hasn’t been updated in some years. Given that I have wandered in to the active clubroom in recent months, I’m pretty sure it is still functioning.
** This one has a question mark after it – not sure if this means ‘did it really exist’?
*** I vaguely remember this one, but in fact I may have two different groups smooshed together, and this might have been a completely different fandom.

Anna Hepworth


  1. 1953 was a good year for Australian fan history. An article on “Science Fiction Fandom in Melbourne” by Marshall McLennan and Bob McCubbin was published in issue 12 of Etherline, and An Outline History of Australian Fandom I. by Vol Molesworth was also published that year.

  2. The Perth Blake’s Seven Club has a question mark after it because, yes, it kind of didn’t exist, yet there were a few irregular meetings circa 1985/86. It was in fact two clubs, the lack of action of the first inspiring the second. The second club, well, I honestly can’t remember why I stopped running it as the meetings were quite successful (barbecue dinner was supplied on the last one, benefit of having a butcher for a father). I can’t recall the name of the first club, but it was really only perfunctory as they (actually, it was organised by one guy) only had one meeting, possibly two. The inaugural meeting was held on a Sunday (always a difficult day for public transport, the only reason I remember) at the same venue as Westlodge at UWA; I’m pretty certain that was also the last meeting, but it was very successful. We watched the Orac trilogy and Children of Auron (not sure why I can remember that, probably because the whole time I was thinking about how long I was going to spend waiting for buses). I think this was also the first time ‘The Blake’s 7 You Never Saw’ was screened, a very clever edit of Blake’s 7 clips with other inserts, dubbed with various soundtracks. Good luck finding it. I estimate between 30 and 40 people attended.

    I formed the second club with a friend after we got impatient waiting for the other club to organise another meet. It’s so long ago that I can’t recall if we even gave our club a name; it’s possible we came up with highly original Perth Blake’s Seven Club, though I seem to recall Countdown was floating about as a name because of its reference to one of the episodes, and because we liked watching the Molly Meldrum ABC program of the same name. I think we had three meetings in total, two at my house (I should say my parent’s house), and one at the other guy’s house (his parent’s house). Our meetings were smaller due to the lack of public transport options to each venue, and the fact we didn’t really know what we were doing. We even tried to emulate the satirical video produced by the other club; ours was called ‘Education in Rebellion’ and featured the Blake’s 7 theme dubbed over images from Playschool. Only by sheer luck did we get one laugh at the end when the closing bars of the theme synchronised with the closing door and reverse zoom from the Playschool house. Guaranteed, you’ll never find it. I think we had around a dozen people turn up, but there was a fair degree of enthusiasm from even such small numbers.

    I don’t think there were any other Blake’s Seven clubs aside from these brief get-togethers. But I kind of moved away from fandom by the end of that decade, so perhaps there was.

  3. I was a member of SAGA back in the day, although you have really put it in the wrong area.. we were always a gaming group first and foremost (not really a SF group.. although we did play SF games).

    My formative gaming years was there and while I have memories of some of the people I gamed with there, sadly a lot of them are gone now.

    I do remember we shifted around a lot. When I first started to go we were operating out of an Annex building to a Bullcreek primary school on a Saturday Afternoon. I used to catch a bus in and then get picked up at night. Then we moved to some people’s houses for a while (why Im not sure exactly). Eventually we hooked up with MARS (Im guessing because Justin our ‘leader’ was in some way affiliated with them) although I just assumed it was because we could get a room for free on Saturday from the Uni. Eventually as my work conditions changed I could go less and less and then after a gap of a month or so i turned up to find that… nobody else had.

    (It was rare for us/me to communicate outside of the game) I had no way of contacting any of those guys (they were all a fair bit older than me). I waited around for what seemed like a long time and went back home, unsure of whatever had become of SAGA. I think we just dwindled away to a core of players too small and too occupied with other things to game. Of course this was pre facebook and similar sites so we never benefited from that cohesive element.

    I still think back to that era and wonder if any of those guys are still gaming ( I still am) and I thank you for bringing up the topic (which I found by accident).

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