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Sites of our guests and friends

Our Guests – Sites of our guests and friends

Trudi Canavan http://www.trudicanavan.com

Alison Goodman http://www.alisongoodman.com.au

Narrelle Harris http://twitter.com/daggyvamp

Shaun Tan http://www.shauntan.net

Kerry Greenwood http://www.phrynefisher.com

Nicki Greenberg http://www.nickigreenberg.com

Kim Westwood http://www.kimwestwood.com

Jack Dann http://www.jackdann.com

Cecilia Dart-Thornton http://www.dartthornton.com

Richard Morgan http://www.richardkmorgan.com

Nick Hilligoss http://www.picturetrail.com/hilligossnic

Jenny Blackford http://jennybl.customer.netspace.net.au

Lucy Sussex http://www.sussex.id.au/home

Paul Collins http://www.paulcollins.com.au

Dick ‘Ditmar’ Jennsen On his life and the MFSC

Sister Clubs (in Victoria and beyond)

Australian Science Fiction Foundation

ASFF’s main purpose is to sponsor and encourage the creation and appreciation of science fiction in Australia


Meteor Incorporated
Meteor Incorporated is a not-for-profit incorporated association registered in Victoria that was established in 2007 to accumulate donations and bequests to acquire premises for the establishment of a science fiction institution and research library in Australia. It also has a shorter-term objective of saving and storing ‘at risk’ collections until it has the resources to manage them properly. As from February 2010 donations of $2 or more to its public fund by Australian taxpayers are tax deductible.


The Star Trek fan club
Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote
Meetings first Saturday of the month, 2-5pm


Doctor Who Club of Victoria (DWCV)
Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote.
Check their Website for meeting times.


The Torchwood Fan Club of Australia
The Torchwood Fan Club of Australia is the first official club for Australian fans.


Spaced Out
Australia’s first science fiction club for gays, lesbians and friends
Grandma Funks, 256 Swan St. Richmond
Meetings once a month, from 6:30pm


Star Walking Inc.
The Star Wars appreciation society in Australia.
The Mervyn Himbury Theological Studies Centre’ 50 The Avenue, Parkville.
Meet every few months on Saturday afternoon, from 1:00-5:00pm, see their website more information.

Science Fiction and Fantasy in Geelong


Melbourne Anime Society
The Melbourne Anime Society no longer exists, please refer to the link for South East Anime for all your Anime action.


South East Anime
For the Anime fans, they also have a Yahoo group: SEAnime


Australian Browncoats
Serenity and Josh Whedon Appreciation community.
see website for meetings, if any.


Society for Creative Anachronism
An international non-profit educational organisation that is dedicated to the research and recreation of pre-17th century European History

Federation Square book reading group (email)
Federation Square (Melbourne) SF & Fantasy genres book reading group.
Free to attend, meets on the 2nd Saturday of every month from 11.30am at Café Beer Delux in Federation Square.
E-mail: books@fedsquare.com


Victorian Writers’ Centre
The Victorian Writers’ Centre is a not-for-profit organisation that assists writers through the various stages of their development.

Whirlaway to Thrilling Wonder Stories

By Race Mathews

Race Mathews was, as this article shows, one of the founding members of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club, and since 1992 has returned to an active interest in SF. To the rest of the world, however, he is Director of the Institute of Politics and Public Affairs in the Graduate School of Government at Monash University. He was Victoria’s Minister for Community Services (1987-88) and Minister for the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services (1982-87). He represented Oakleigh in the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1979 to 1992, and Casey in the federal House of Representatives from 1972 to 1975, and was a Councillor for the City of Croydon from 1964 to 1966. He was Principal Private Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition in Victoria (1976-79) and federally (1967-72). His Australia’s First Fabians: Middle-Class Radicals, Labour Activists and the Early Labour Movement was published by Cambridge University Press in 1993, and he is currently writing about the co-operative movement in Britain, Canada and Spain

Race Mathews opened each of the 1975 and 1985 Worldcons, both held in Melbourne.

This article was re-printed from Bruce Gillespie’s fanzine, Metaphysical Review. It was first written as a paper to be presented at Nova Mob.

Due to the size of the article, it has been split into several sections. Fortunately Race had already divided the article into several discrete sections.

Part 1: First Encounters

Any account of the origins of the Melbourne Science Fiction Group, which later became the Melbourne Science Fiction Club, must in the nature of things be as much about biography as history. In order to understand how the MSFG (Melbourne Science Fiction Group) was established, it is necessary also to understand how in the first place the Group’s founders acquired tastes for science fiction which were tantamount to an addiction, and what it was that led them on further to the point where an organisation was required. In as much as what follows sets out the development of my own reading habits to the point of my discovery of science fiction and membership of the MSFG, it is offered as a paradigm from which the experiences of others may differ in detail, but which in a broad sense reflects the group as a whole.

Continue reading


Part 2: Proto-fan by Race Mathews

It was my good luck to be born into a household where science fiction was accepted and appreciated, at a time when reading was not yet in the process of being supplanted for entertainment purpose by the electronic media. My father before me had been an avid reader of H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sir Henry Rider Haggard, and a keen collector of the early American science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. The sale of his collection to meet mid-Depression household expenses around the time of my birth was in a sense a metaphor for a life which was largely given over to sacrifice of his and my mother’s interests to those of their children. Continue reading

The Old Boys’ Book Club

Part 3: by Race Mathews

My taste for the story papers of my father’s generation had the side effect of involving me for the first time when I was sixteen in the establishment of a new organisation – the Old Boys’ Book Club (Australasian Branch). E. S. Turner’s Boys Will Be Boys – published in 1948 and widely reviewed – was the first comprehensive account of how story-paper collecting was becoming a widespread hobby, with its own clubs and journals. Thanks to Turner, I was able to subscribe to Herbert Leckenby’s Collector’s Digest from York in England, Bill Gander’s Story Paper Collector from Manitoba in Canada and the distinctively American Reckless Ralph’s Dime Novel Roundup. Leckenby put me in touch with Bill Martin, a London milkman with a profitable sideline in supplying story papers to a worldwide clientele, and also with the secretaries of the London, Midlands and Northern branches of the British Old Boys’ Book Club.

Continue reading

First Contact With Science Fiction

Part 4: by Race Mathews

It was in the course of window-shopping for American comics that I came in touch for the first time with science fiction. The circumstances of the encounter were much the same as for Amis or Pohl. The year was 1944. I, too, was nine years old. Travelling to school involved a change of trams at the junction of Balaclava Road and High Street in St Kilda. Close by the tram stop, second-hand comics and magazines were sold by a down-at-heel shop with a verandah which carried in faded letters the word Saddler, alongside a lifesize wooden horsehead. Saddler in due course became my name for the equally down-at-heel proprietor. At first the daily wait for my change of trams was passed simply staring at such publications as found their way into Saddler’s window. American comics – when available – were given pride of place, on a special display stand. One Thursday, room had had to be made for a thicker magazine, with untrimmed edges. The cover featured a couple of bulbous red bipeds, directing something like an old-fashioned movie camera at a man and woman dressed for tropical exploration and confined in a cage. It was the tenth anniversary issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories, published five years earlier, in 1939. As in the case of the American comics, the price was 2/6. Continue reading

Fellow Fans

Part 5:  by Race Mathews

An advertisement in one of my purchases introduced me to Ken Slater’s Operation Fantast network. Slater was a captain with the British Army on the Rhine. His purpose in life was putting science fiction readers in touch with one another. He also supplied American magazines and paperbacks to countries where the postwar dollar shortage meant they were otherwise un- available. Operation Fantast linked me with Roger Dard in Perth, who was Slater’s Australian representative. Roger turned out to be a fellow admirer of the Nelson Lee Library and also of the Aldine Press Dick Turpin Library, which had been a favourite of my grandfather’s generation. I loaned him my Lees and was loaned in return prewar issues of Astounding and Thrilling Wonder Stories.

Continue reading

The Melbourne Science Fiction Group

Part 6: by Race Mathews

Melbourne tackled matters in a different spirit. The five of us – Bob McCubbin, Mervyn Binns, Dick Jenssen, Lee Harding and myself – made up the core of the Melbourne Science Fiction Group. The inaugural meeting of the MSFG took place in the living room of my home in Hampton on 9 May 1952. Lee records the occasion as having been instigated by a sort of collaboration between Bob McCubbin and Race Mathews. In Dick’s characteristically tongue-in-cheek view:

Race, I’m sure, was the guiding light in the foundation of the Melbourne Science Fiction Group, for it was he who brought together those who would constitute its nucleus. (If it seems remarkable that a 16-year-old could accomplish this – that is, the formation of the club, not the seduction to science fiction of a youth of but 15 tender years (me) – it must be remembered that Race was a boy of remarkable precocity. He always seemed old to me – an Olympian of wisdom. Baby-faced he was, Lee, but rather in the manner I’ve always imagined Odd John would be).

Continue reading

Amateur Fantasy Publications of Australia

Part 7: by Race Mathews

The creative side of the MSFG was instigated by Lee and Dick. We, Lee told Dick in 1952, must put out a fanzine. What resulted after lengthy gestation was not one fanzine but five, titled respectively Perhaps, Bacchanalia, Etherline, Question Mark and Antipodes. The vehicle for all this activity was Amateur Fantasy Publications of Australia (AFPA), which owned the group’s stencils, paper and ink, and in due course – after extensive experimentation with less satisfactory devices – had the carriage of its purchase of a Roneo 500 duplicator. The initial membership of AFPA was Lee, Dick and Mervyn Binns. I was a latecomer, and two new arrivals in the MSFG, Ian Crozier and Kevin Whelahan, joined later again.

Continue reading