SwanCon 4 (WayCon ’79) – Program – Leigh Edmonds

Transcribed by Elaine Walker, all typos faithfully reproduced.

Leigh Edmonds

An arrow pointing down and to the right in the top left corner of the pages.
A line drawing on the top right corner of the page has what looks like a biplane on 3 long legs, each with a different size wheel on the end.

“The one thing Leigh Edmonds despairs of ever being is a writer of sf. As a consequence he finds himself bemused at being the Guest of Honour at this convention–although very honoured and pleased at the excuse to visit Western Australia. If you’ve never heard of him he doesn’t mind and doesn’t blame you, and here are some background facts to go on with:

Leigh was born in June 1948 at the Dimboola Bush Nursing Hospital and spent the following seventeen or so years in Dimboola leading a quiet and not too mischevious life most of the time. In 1960 he discovered plastic aeroplanes and in 1961 he discovered science-fiction. The first sf book he ever read was “A Thousand Ages” by somebody called Ellis and the memory of wandering through the hot dusty streets of Dimboola while reading about London thousands of years in the future is an odd juxtaposition which he still remembers. Plastic models and science fiction still battle for first place as Leigh’s major hobby since then through other interests have squeezed in more recently.

In 1966 Leigh left home and moved down to Melbourne to start work with the Department of Civil Aviation (there being no Department of Books to join). He stills works for the same department although it’s now less imaginatively called the Department of Transport. Soon after arriving in Melbourne he discovered and joined the International Plastic Modellers Society and the Melbourne Science Fiction Club. Although he hasn’t been to an MSFC meeting in years but he’s still an IPMS member and he has been, at one time or another, a member of more sf related clubs than he can remember and formed one or two by himself.

Almost by accident Leigh attended the 1966 Easter SF Convention in Melbourne which marks the resurgance of sf and fandom in Australia. He was on the committee which organised the next Australian sf convention, in 1968, and has had a finger in the pie of most sf conventions organised in Melbourne since then, including AUSSIECON which was the 33rd World Convention held in Melbourne in 1975.


New page. Line drawing of a space shuttle on top right of page.

At the same time as all this Leigh has been involved in the publishing of fanzines (fan magazines) and now has almost five hundred different issues to his name. In fact conventions and clubs are a sideline to Leigh who published fanzines which are distributed over five continents. He’s been a member of many fanzine publishing groups (apa’s), at one stage he was in nine at the same time and that kept him busy. In 1968 he founded the Australian and New Zealand Amateur Press Association which is still going strongly today.

From 1974 to 1978 Leigh published a fortnightly newsletter of msf and sf fan activities in Australia (carrying for example first news of SWANCON I and the formation of WASFA). The final issue, the 99th, appeared last June and since then he’s been resting from that busy schedule although in January he published six different fanzines – about fifty pages overall which means that he’s still fairly active.

Fanzines are the interstate and international link between the fans and fan groups, in 1974 Leigh won the first Down Under Fan Fund to take an Australian fan to meet fans in the US and for the first time he had the chance to meet, face to face, people he’d been writing to and publishing fanzines for five or six years. In 1977 Leigh was the Guest of Honour at Q-Con 3 in Brisbane.

Leigh will be accompanied on his trip to Perth by Valma Brown. Valma is originally from Brisbane where she was involved in the theatre. She moved to Melbourne in 1971 to persue a career in drama and met Leigh. Since then she has attended and been involved in the organising of most Melbourne conventions. She went with Leigh to the US in 1974 and they had an immensely enjoyable time together. In 1975 they somehow fitted four fans into their flat after AUSSIECON and have had at various times most notable fans and sf personalties visiting Melbourne pass through their door. Valma is not as active in publishing fanzines as Leigh though she has sometimes contributed to MINNEAPA (The Minneapolis apa) and she and Leigh have co-edited the most recent issue of the fanzine RATAPLAN and their new fanzine GIANT WOMBO. Valma will embark on the final year of her college course the day after this convention (mr Ansett willing) and will emerge at the end of year a qualified teacher specialising in Drama and English, fields in which her knowledge and experience of sf will prove invaluable.”

Cartoon of strange creature with antennae apparently attempting to hitch-hike.

About australian sf-history

ASFDAP was set up in 2011 after the rediscovery by the wider SF community of an impressive hoard of Australian SF community related ephemera, fanzines and other materials in the Murdoch University basement.
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