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The Australian Science Fiction Foundation (affectionately known as the Foundation) was formally established in 1976, partially to carry on the work of the 1975 Aussiecon, the first Australian World Science Fiction Convention. The Foundation was the nucleus for the successful Aussiecon II bid and its members worked, along with many others, to run the 1985 Worldcon in Melbourne. In March 1988, the Foundation became an incorporated association.
Its main purpose is to sponsor and encourage the creation and appreciation of science fiction in Australia through a variety of activities:
- Awards the A Bertram Chandler Award, which has been presented since 1992 to an Australian person for “Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction”. Since its inception it has garnered much prestige and is now considered one of the premier awards for Australian Science Fiction, whether that be literary based or other relevant work within the Australian SF community. The ASFF administers the award and donates a prodigious trophy. Nominations for the Chandler are always open: please check the ASFF website for instructions on how to nominate a person.
- Awards the Norma K. Hemming Award, which marks excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in science fiction produced either in Australia or by Australian citizens. First awarded in 2010, the Norma K. Hemming has been garnering increased awareness and prestige especially from publishers as it is a juried award. The ASFF administers the award and donates a prodigious trophy.
- Sponsors the Amateur SF Competition, conducted by the Australian National Science Fiction Convention.
- Lends seed money to Australian National Science Fiction Conventions (Natcons) to cover their start-up costs providing Natcons with some cash flow before the memberships start rolling in.
- Provides banking facilities to the Australian Fan Funds. Being unincorporated entities, the Fan Funds found it difficult to establish bank accounts in the fund’s name. The ASFF provides the funds with a bank account which can be operated by the current fan fund administrator; bank fees and other costs are not passed on to the Fund thus preserving all the donations for the purposes they were given.
- Produces a newsletter, Instrumentality, an essential information source for Australian SF&F events and news.
- Operates as a resource centre for everyone involved in Science Fiction in Australia. Clearing House operations ensure that the myriad of enquiries received are connected to the right person or organisation.
The Foundation relies on membership subscriptions and donations to fund its ongoing activities.