Whovians Downunder

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary worldwide celebration of seminal sci-fi series Doctor Who is a recent donation to the Fryer Library. Mistfall, the official publication of the Brisbane Doctor Who Fan Club (BDWFC), was recently added to the Fryer rare journals collection, with a run of issues 1-19 held, of a total of twenty-four issues produced.

Doctor Who first screened in Australia on the ABC in early 1965, and the first Australian fan clubs were founded around the mid-1970s. According to the first Mistfall editorial, by Rodney Pail (BDWFC president and UQ student) the BDWFC was founded in September 1989, with a growing membership of 140+ at the time of going to print. Mistfall was designed 'to display the variety of literary and artistic talent of the members of the club' as well as keeping them informed of club activities.

The original cover art of the first issue shows Brisbane City Hall sinking into the swamp (very apt considering the recent extensive repairs to the heritage building due to that very problem) with a Marshman arising. The art references the story 'Full Circle' from the eighteenth season starring the Fourth Doctor, where Marshmen arose once every 50 years during Mistfall on the planet Alzarius. In addition to original artwork, the issue also contained fan fiction, reports on BDWFC events, club news, trivia and episode recaps, and a report on the Whovention held at Sydney University by the Australasian Doctor Who Fan Club to mark 25 years of Doctor Who in Australia.

Sydney University had a long association with Doctor Who - in early 1976 the Sydney University Science Fiction Association built a Dalek to compete in a Dalek race. A fan club was then established, and the Dalek used in a protest against the ABC ceasing to buy and show new episodes. A full write up of the protest, including reports of said Dalek scaring children, can be found in the first issue of Zerinza, the Australasian Doctor Who fanzine, which is also held by Fryer.

These fanzines form part of Fryer Library's increasingly diverse science fiction collections. If you are interested in donating items to Fryer, you can now view our donation guidelines online.

Written by Penny Whiteway, Senior Librarian, Fryer Library, The University of Queensland

Last updated:
27 June 2016