Astrex Minicon

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Star Trek Convention
Name: Astrex Minicon
Dates: 1978-1988
Location: Australia
Type: fan-run minicon
Focus: Star Trek: TOS
Organization: Astrex
Founder: Susan Smith-Clarke
Founding Date: 1978
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There were at least two Astrex minicons in 1978 and were also known as "ST Party/Minicons", a series of informal events held in Australia to celebrate the tenth year anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series.) Another minicon was held in 1980.

In 1986, members of the Astrex committee hosted "CometCon", a weekend minicon complete with telescopes, to celebrate the arrival of Halley's Comet. Many fannish events (including a 24-hour video room, Harpic Productions' "Cometcon Blankety Blanks", a bonfire and a "silver meteorite"/Easter egg hunt) were held in Rossmore in Sydney, but the weekend was overcast and sightings of the comet were rare. The next year, with inspiration from a favourite McCoy quote from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, another weekend minicon was run in Rossmore: "Oh Joy Con". The weather was more favourable and the Easter egg hunt's winning eggs contained toy whales.

Melbourne members of Austrek joined Sydney members of Astrex for a 1988 weekend minicon event, held at a midpoint for the two cities: "Wagga Wagga Con Con", in the local Wagga Wagga Scout Hall. (A proposed, combined "Clubs Con", to involve a third club, Quest of Brisbane, never materialised when choosing a mutually acceptable venue proved impossible.)

A Con Report

ST was first shown in Australia in JuIy 1967. Accordingly, this year clubs all round Australia have been orgainsing events to celebrate this anniversary...

Sydney's party, attended by over 60 people (Melbourne's had 100 attendees) was held at the Blacktown Squash Centre's function rooms.... In one room, where where one was given a name tag, dealers' tables had been set up. These were for ST merchandise such as photos, posters and pendants, photo buttons etc, ST & SF books and slides and photos from the TV. Also available was the fanzine Beyond Antares published by Astrex, Sydney's national ST club. A board had been put up with photos from Astrex's past functions - ha! ha! - and a listing of the committee members. In the other room were seats, movie projector and screen.

The evening began with a history of Astrex, given by the president, Susan Clarke, explaining how the club grew out of the old DUSK (Down Under Space Kooks) of the late 1960s. It had originally been called STAC but this was changed for reasons which should be obvious to you. It sounded and looked too much like STAG! Astrex was chosen partly as a contraction of Australian Star Trek and partly because the club is symbol (the command insignia) looked like an asterix. Susan went on to comment on the particularly good, close relations Astrex enjoyed with the other ST clubs of Australia and how all the clubs formed a circle to co-operate with each other and to share news and activities. When you consider the thinness of the population and how widely scattered the clubs are (not to mention the horrible postal rates for internal mail - we have no 2nd class or printed matter rates. Everything goes letter rate. Aargh!) this is no small achievement.

Following this, Karen Lewis, a member of Astrex (sic, actually Aussietrek) and Chairperson of the ST convention committee, gave a talk on the first major con to be held in this country planned for March next year in Sydney. She announced that James Doohan had confirmed by telegram that he would come as guest of honour and that the con would be held in the Menzies Hotel in the city (a rather fancy place, actually). She said that other guests had yet to confirm or refuse. Since flying these people out, first class, some 10000 miles would not be cheap, the con's budget would have to be large and methods of raising money were discussed, including auctions, raffles and film nights. After that, films were shown, then yours truly gave a talk on collecting, illustrated with zines from my collection and pointing out the dos and don'ts of ordering things from overseas. I also told people where and how best to get reliable information on ST, rather than relying on the vagaries of press coverage, i.e. which clubs and newsletters are the best to subscribe to. Later gave out addresses for both ST & SW zines on request and also sold copies of Astrex's information booklet (an annotated guide to clubs, mail-order firms and zines relating to ST compiled by myself.)

Following this, a film on the possibility of life in the galaxy, featuring Orson Welles,was screened. Next came a much appreciated dinner break where everyone adjourned to the next room for sandwiches, cakes, biscuits, coffee, tea or cordial and conversation with other fans....

Then came the costume call, judging and dancing. The majority of costumes were not from ST, interestingly enough. There were no less than three Dr. Whos (Tom Baker style and one of whom was female) assorted aliens, a Wicked Witch of the West who had silver Starship nacelles attached to her broom, a sandman from Logan's Run, a tribble, a Spiderman, an Orion dancer, a blue-faced female Luke Skywalker... a Princess Leia, a Darth Vader, a Han Solo, a Klingon Commander (myself), an Obi-Wan and sundry Starfleet uniforms. The winners were Spiderman, the tribble, Princess Leia and Obi Wan... The dancing was great fun -- barn dances and cake walks to a Harry Roy LP. When everyone collapsed in exhausted heaps, there was more general chat among fans who came from all over the state (New South Wales), the Australia Capital Territory and also South Australia (namely the president of Adelaide's Sastrek, Jill Curtin). Then people started to go home as it was after midnight, though some spent the night in sleeping bags on the floor or else sat up talking.[1]


  1. from STAG #31