Austrek

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Fan Club
Name: Austrek
Dates: Well. Depends on who you ask.
July 1975? [1] October 1975? [2] November 1976? [3]
Founder(s):
Leadership:
Country based in: Australia
Focus: Star Trek
External Links:
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Contents

Austrek is a Australian Star Trek fan club formed in Melbourne. It was prompted by the first colour transmission of Star Trek in Australia in February 1975. [4]

This fan club, among many other things, published a number of zines and ran at least one con called TrekCon.

This club is the second oldest Star Trek fan club in Australia.

See The History of Austrek: How it all began...

History

An excerpt from a much, much longer history posted online (undated):
Austrek was created by school students Geoff Allshorn, Joan McLachlan and Doug Ray in October 1975 as part of an informal club called the MASC (Melbourne Amateur Science Club) the focus of which was to promote sciences including Astronomy, Psychology, Archaeology and the pseudoscience's such as UFOlogy. In 1975 Star Trek was reintroduced to Australia with the launch of colour television and this in turn prompted a sudden increase of new members into the club. As a result of this newfound popularity, Austrek was eventually launched as a club in its own right in November 1976, which is now acknowledged as the club’s official start date.

The promotion of Austrek as a new Star Trek club was aided by Diane Marchant, who was the Australian representative of the Star Trek Welcommittee (a group designed to link Star Trek fans together from around the world). It was through this connection that Gene and Majel Roddenberry became two of the club's earliest Honorary Members.

SPOCK, subtitled "Star Trek Propaganda On Club Kids", was Austrek's first ever publication and was intended to be the club’s newsletter and fanzine (a fanzine is an amateur booklet populated with fan written stories and original artwork). Early issues were typed on a stencil and printed via a Fordigraph spirit duplicator and after producing four singled-paged issues known as Volume 1; SPOCK was reborn as a proper fanzine without the subtitle known as Volume 2. The first 10-page issue of the new Volume 2 format appeared in 1976 and continued for 69 issues winning many awards and accolades until 1994 when it ceased publication.

With SPOCK designated as the club’s fanzine, a new newsletter had to be created and the first was Trekkie Talk of which there were only two issues released in December 1976 and January 1977. From February 1977 Trekkie Talk was rebranded into The Captain’s Log where the issue numbering cycle was restarted at #1. Despite the early editions only being four pages long, The Captain's Log is still in production with over 300 issues having now been published.

Club meetings in the early days were held at the homes of members on a bi monthly basis and were very successful until the crowds became too large for them to handle, as a consequence a church hall in Fairfield was then hired for regular gatherings. It was also from these meetings where the “first Saturday of the month” schedule was instigated, this was to coincide with the popular Star Trek marathons which were 35mm screenings of Star Trek episodes that were held at the Ritz Cinema in North Melbourne on the same night.

Before long Austrek moved its meetings from Fairfield to the Women's Temperance Hall - more commonly known as The Dungeon (now the site of the Hyatt Hotel) - in Russell St in the city. The meetings were attended by around 30 likeminded fans and consisted of games, trivia contests, chatting and some serious speculating about the scientific and philosophical implications of Star Trek.

1978 saw Austrek run its first ever convention, Trekcon I which was organised by Adrienne Losin. It was a modest one-day event that was a lot of fun and received a favourable write up in The Sun newspaper. [5]
From the editor in the 150th issue of The Captain's Log (1990):
In looking at the first issues of our bumble newsletter, it must be remembered that Austrek itself began as a club with a dozen - all schoolchildren who shared a common interest in STAR TREK. After opening publicly in late 1976, we were swamped by the demand of people wanting to join. Almost instantly, we found our youthful enthusiasm helpful but inadequate for the tasx. All of our experience, efforts and abilities were stretched to meet each new challenge.

Yet out of this chaos, there was a vibrant excitement which can still be glimpsed in reviewing the early newsletters. Pages in the early CAPTAIN'S LOGs still sparkle with the excitement of a club - and a fan phenomenon - in transition. These were the days when STAR TREK itself was struggling for its niche as a fairly obscure genre in its own right. Austrek actually began its life as a sub-section of a schoolchildren's amateur science club. However, the public demand for Austrek quickly drained the parent club, which closed soon after Austrek's public opening. Even a brief glance at the earliest newsletter shows technically crude methods of reproduction and the poor quality of art work/contributions that resulted. On the other hand, many of the contributors and artists "proved their worth"and their talents in later Austrek productions (or in professional publications). Perhaps CAPTAIN'S LOG was a testing ground? The news letter began its life with the name of TREKKIE TALK. Two issues later, due to the demands of an increasingly sophisticated audience, its name was changed to the familiar CAPTAIN'S LOG. Our budget in those days was often, literally nothing. (Postage costs alone swallowed up our paltry club finances, which usually depended on donations oC pocket money from the above mentioned school students!) Often, an entire issue was typed up in one night by whoever had access to the typewriter, and printed off the following day on a school's fordigraph machine (purple spirit duplicator) by a student during lunch hour. Stencils for typing, and paper for printing, was generally begged/borrowed/stolen. (I remember all too well when a LOG editor emerged from a solitary corner at 2. a.m. during an all-night Austrek rage. She had been typing for hours, and she needed a volunteer to finish typing up the newsletter so that it could be printed the next day. Guess who was the turkey who volunteered??) From this humble background grew the newsletter we have today. Yet in those days of genesis, no-one could have conceived that the club and its publications would survive for over a decade!

The fact that the CAPTAIN'S LOG has now reached 150 issues is a testimony to its current contributors who have given untiringly. But it is also a tribute to those earlier people who gave of their youthful enthusiasm and inadvertently tapped into a fountain of potential and talent, thereby providing the basic groundwork that could be built upon by their successors.

Zines

References

  1. National Library Of Australia, Archived version
  2. Austrek History - Austrek, The Star Trek Fan Club Inc, Archived version
  3. Austrek History - Austrek, The Star Trek Fan Club Inc, Archived version
  4. from an article by Nikki White in Star Trek Action Group #101
  5. Austrek History - Austrek, The Star Trek Fan Club Inc, Archived version
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