TAVERN history from 1993 to present.
If you would like to fill in some gaps, please post your information
or anecdote on the message
board. If you have any photos you'd like to see up on the site, please
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|'TAVERN' began in Sydney in 1993 in response
to the popularity of the Fitzroy Tavern in London, and other pub meetings
around the United Kingdom. Initially a private affair of a small group
working on Data Extract, this quickly expanded to incorporate any members,
non-members, family & friends. The first official TAVERN took place
in late 1993. Attracting over 20 people to Pasquales in Ultimo, the
monthly meetings became a place not only to meet and drink but to plan
The Sydney Doctor Who Science Fiction Fan Club was created over a drink
at Pasquales in December '93 - a partnership being forged between Neil
Hogan and Robert Smith to create a monthly club for Doctor Who and Science
Fiction. Time Brains, the monthly newsletter, was launched at the February
1994 gathering which also marked the move of TAVERN from Pasquales to a
more ideal place in that of the Museum Hotel on William St in the City
of Sydney. (Pasquales restaurant and beer garden was mostly outdoors
which, given the high cost of Italian food and the invasion of rain and
mosquitoes in summer, meant moving was certain.)
Coming to a tavern meant reading the latest news packed issue of Time Brains
as well as buying Dreamwatch Magazine from Dallas. Fans would also
bring their latest DWM's, inform each other of the latest clip discovery,
or talk about why Dimensions in Time is canon. The DWFCA also received
review books so attendees would get to see these months before they were
released in Australia, and sometimes a few weeks before they were released
in England. The SDWSFFC began importing the Doctor Who books and selling
these at TAVERNS too so many people came to get the latest book cheaper
and faster than local stores.
Also, around this time, Kate Orman had leapt to fame
with her novel The Left-Handed Hummingbird and TAVERN ended up becoming
an occasional signing session for her. Paul Cornell also turned up at a
TAVERN in '94 which, of course, meant more signings. Doctor Who 2000, an
audio zine that had been recorded by Neil Hogan since 1989, garnered several
fan interviews at TAVERN.
This meant TAVERNERS were prepared for the Space Cadets invasion of '95
which meant more interviews. (Space Cadets was a radio programme
exploring science fiction in music) Around this time Gary Russell also
made an appearance while researching his book 'Invasion of the Cat People'.
Marcus Nickinson, freelance DWM article writer and photographer also TAVERNED
as did other prominant fans such as Jonathon Blum. Word had spread.
Tavern was temporarily moved for Whovention III
with Elisabeth Sladen so that it became part of the convention. Anyone
could attend as long as you made it into the Radisson Hotel bar in North
Sydney. Elisabeth Sladen was there. Due to a major restaurant stuff
up, attendees were compensated with a $50 tab at the bar. It didn't last
long, of course.
1995 also saw the year that Kate Orman gave up
the Doctor Who Fan Club of Australia. She told Neil Hogan at a TAVERN that
he could take it over if he wanted to. His immediate response was NOOOO!
Until she said later that if he didn't she'd give it to the Victorian club.
Speaking of which. A contingent of Doctor Who Club of
Victoria members made it to Sydney and an impromptu TAVERN was organised
for them at the Gengis Kahn Mongolian Restaurant. (The DW movie had not
been released yet so the reference was coincidental!) A mini TAVERN was
held for John Levene when he came to Sydney in early 1995 at the Rocks
Bar and another impromptu TAVERN was organised for Lalla Ward when she
made it to Sydney at Sketches Restaurant.
The problem for many sudden events such as these was
that, unless contact details were known by the members of the clubs and
people could be contacted and available with only 24 hours notice, (which
was usually how things worked out) then many would've missed out on the
impromptu events as they didn't occur on the first Friday of the month.
This website, through the message
board, intends to address that situation. So come back often for latest
The Museum Hotel on William Street behind the Australian Museum sported
interesting restaurant facilities. People would buy the restaurant, try
and make a profit out of it, then sell it within 3 months. So every 3 TAVERNS
or so there would be a completely different menu and we'd need to explain
to the new managers exactly why we are there and how often we come there.
In 1997 though this changed as the hotel realised that it would be better
to get rid of the restaurant altogether. The search was on for another
place and a temporary site was found in the Globe, a bar on Elizabeth Street.
Unfortunately hooligans and louts frequently disturbed these places and,
even though Sarah Groenewegen complained about the poor behaviour of the
bar staff and, as a result, the group was compensated with drinks, we decided
it wasn't worth it. It was at this point that tavern took a downturn
in attendance as no new place could be found. Sporadic TAVERNS were held
in '98 in various places but, with Whovention 2000 on the horizon, regulars
changing jobs and interested parties not able to contact anyone about it,
there wasn't enough people to keep it running.
2000 also saw planning for Whovention 2001. With so little
time there were enough committee meetings for volunteers to make a monthly
TAVERN obsolete. And so TAVERN became a myth.
Thankfully 2001 saw a resurgence in interest. This may
have been a follow on from the new CD releases finally becoming popular
or it could've been the influence of Whovention 2000 with Sylvester McCoy
and Nicola Bryant and the upcoming Whovention 2001 with Colin Baker and
Anneke Wills. Dallas Jones and Neil Hogan began a promotion for TAVERN
at the new abode of the Off Broadway Hotel. The
bistro area wasn't very crowded on a Friday night which made it perfect.
Numbers have been building since initial email messages and various comments
point to it being much better than Museum Hotel.
So, come along and join in making history, (oh, and getting
drunk, of course!)
If you've taken photos at previous TAVERNS and would
like to see them on this site, feel free to scan and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you've found any errors in this very basic TAVERN history guide, or
would like to say something else about it, please post them on the message
Pasquales restaurant in Ultimo
Museum Hotel William St
(now renamed Hotel William)
The Globe on Elizabeth St
Paul Cornell, Gary Leigh and Marcus Nickinson
Neil Hogan, Matthew Glozier and Paul Barnier
Off Broadway Hotel
An early TAVERN at the Museum Hotel
The Victorian Delegation.
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