Roger Sims' Aussiecon Reminiscence

1975Aussiecon One, Melbourne
The Bringing of Smo-o-o-o-o-oth to Australia by Roger Sims
From the Noreascon Three PB

The 33rd World Science Fiction Convention, Aussiecon, was held August 14-17, 1975 at the Southern Cross Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. It was truly a first-class event.
However, a con half way across the world and down another half cannot begin and end at the site. This one began in LA with some sixty American and Canadian fans gathered together by Grace and Don Lundry and molded into the Aussie Con Trip. Many of whom still hold an Aussie Con Trip party at Worldcons.

The fan activities actually started before Thursday's formal opening on Wednesday evening at DeGreaves Bar located somewhere in Melbourne. My attendance there is probably responsible for my being unable to remember much of the opening ceremony. However, I am sure that the Guests of Honor Ursula K. Le Guin, Susan Wood, and Mike Glicksohn, DUFF winner Rusty Hevelin, and "special fund" Bob Tucker had many good pro and fan things to say.

Moreover, even with the program book in front of me, I am unable to remember much of the program. Must have been jet lag, or maybe bad bheer. However, with a little help from my friends some of the following did come out.

On Sunday Lynn Hickman, Rusty Hevelin, and Ron Graham thrilled us with a nostalgic look at the "golden days" when science fiction really had a sense of wonder, on a panel entitled, "It's only Science Fiction, But We Like It!" I would like to give you a review of what they said, but even they do not remember.

The one item that I am most sorry I slept through was called "The Role of Sheep in Science Fiction or Whither the Woolmark in the Future." I wonder, which came first, the book or the talk?
I do remember the main event of the Tucker Bag by "Bob, this is your life?", Tucker. But first a word on how Bob Tucker managed to get to Aussiecon. Many of his friends urged him to run for DUFF. However, he felt that because he was more pro than fan it wouldn't be fair. And besides, his sometime father sometimes son was running. The truth: Up to this point Bob had never flown in an airplane! And he could not think of any other way to get to the Con. But not to worry, some of these same friends, the ones who had urged him to run, namely Jackie Franke, Martha Beck, and Joni Stopa, started a fund to send Bob to Australia. Fortunately, not only did they raise enough money to send him there, they also raised enough money to bring him back. Now to the main event: It was the story of Rosebud. Unfortunately, it is not a proper story for this proper publication. Maybe if you can get him to do many smoooths in a row you might be able to talk him into telling the story one more time.

Most of you who know Bob's habits know that he is very careful not to offend anyone with his cigar smoking. This habit led to the following incident: On the last night at the hotel, Rusty, who shared a room with Bob, was finishing dressing in preparation for the two going to dinner. Bob was ready. So while waiting, he decided to smoke a cigar. Being nice, he slid the sliding window open; not being nice the window jumped its tracks and crashed seven stories to the ground. Picking his jaw off the floor, Bob called the front desk. The clerk, upon hearing the story, said not to worry, someone will fix it in the morning. To which Bob replied, "But it's winter." "Oh, right you are! We will have someone right up to move you to a new room. One with all the windows intact."

The formal closing ceremony was held in the main ballroom Sunday at 5:00 pm. However, the con did not end then, it began again almost immediately with a Pie Night. Pie Night was described in the Program Book as "Typical Australian delicacies for the delight of our visitors from far and near." The afterglow continued the next day with a steam train ride to Ballarat, where the government had established a museum at the closed gold mine. We all looked but nothing glittered like gold. But we did have a great time.

Thus ended the con.
Some other highlights:
The almost non-stop parties.
The First Fandom party hosted by Ron Graham and attended by these First Fandomites: Ron Graham, John Millard, Alderson Fry, Roy and Dede Lavender, Forrest J Ackerman, Wally Gonser, Lynn Hickman, Jack Chalker, Bea Taylor, and Bob Tucker.
The almost non-stop parties.
The boat trip around Sydney Harbor.
Having lunch at the Travel Lodge with Don Tuck.
The almost non-stop parties.
The visit to Ron Graham's library with its 12,000 paperbacks, 12,000 magazines, 10,000 hardcovers, over 10,000 SF and Fantasy comics, and 5,000 fanzines which included almost complete runs of the early ones up to and including 1940. And all cataloged like a real library with a full-time librarian. The workmen who built the addition to Ron's house thought that they were building a lending library.
The travels around Australia and New Zealand before and after the con.
The walk around town with Fred and Lynn taking turns buying bheers. Lynn paid $1.50 for bottled bheer in the hotel. Fred paid 35¢ for the same bottle in a working man's bar around the corner. I paid 10¢ for a shell. They are still mad at me!
The role daffodils played in our travels.
The NASFiC in L.A.
And least of all, the sixty-plus hours without seeing anything looking like a bed from the time we left New Zealand until we arrived back in Detroit.

A special thanks is due Fred Prophet, Lynn Hickman, and Rusty Hevelin, who supplied some of the information and thoughts that I have mangled into this report. Also to Pat Sims, my excellent proof reader.

It's all their fault.