Australia in 1999

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A successful bid to bring the Worldcon to Melbourne in 1999. It won at L.A.Con III in 1996. The other bidder was Worldcon Zagreb in 1999. See 1999 Worldcon Site Selection for details.

Strong-armed Recruited while on their 1993 DUFF trip, Leah and Dick Smith were the principal U.S. agents, tirelessly talking up Aussiefandom and organizing and throwing bid parties across the country.

Pre-supporters received wearable clip-on toy koalas as premiums, and a key bid fundraiser was a line of “Koalawear” vests for them, complete with branded packaging. (The tiny clothes were designed by Chicagoland fan Christine Dziadosz, who was inspired by the full-sized matching vests worn by the Marching NESFAns then bidding for Boston in '98.) High-level donors received pewter platypus pins.

Bid parties in North America served Australian bheer and wine; imported candies such as musk-flavored Lifesavers, Violet Crumble, Cherry Ripe and Minties; homemade ANZAC biscuits (Australasian-style cookies supplied by a cadre of volunteer fan bakers — and turning out differently from baker to baker due to variations in and outright unavailability of key ingredients such as golden syrup); Lamingtons (Australia’s answer to brownies); and “Platypus Punch.”

The last was a beverage invented by the Smiths after Leah quizzed Australian fen about popular nonalcoholic Aussie drinks and received only blank stares for answer.[1] The Blog-red punch, conceived somewhat desperately in the aisles of Costco before the bid’s launching party at ConFrancisco, consisted primarily of Hawaiian Punch, pineapple juice and ginger ale, mixed, Swill-like, in wastebaskets, with canned fruit cocktail added as the “platypus.” It was quite surprisingly popular.

When the bid won, the Smiths were neither thanked nor offered any role in Aussiecon Three, which they ultimately did not attend. Ruefully regarding their uncompensated bidding expenses, Leah Smith called it, “the most expensive convention I never went to.”


1999 Site Selection 1999
This is a page about a convention bid. Please extend it by adding information about who was bidding, officers, committee list, what they were bidding for, who their opponents were, and who won.