Nowcon Brings Geekery To The South Coast

We often hear of Brisbane complaining about Sydney and Melbourne getting all the cool things, then Perth complains about Brisbane, Adelaide complains about Perth, and Hobart sits in the middle rolling its eyes. But what about the regions that aren't even near any capital cities?

The South Coast of NSW will be getting its very own geek convention this October when NowCon arrives in the town of Nowra, which is approximately two hours south of Sydney. The convention aims to be the place for lovers of all things geeky to meet up, especially those in regional areas who often can't make it to the conventions in big cities. The event touts itself as having something for anyone who loves games, comics, books, and cosplay.

Local businesses will also be getting involved with comic and hobby shops setting up stalls, a cosplay competition, a Guitar Hero competition, a World of Warcraft Trading Card Game comp, and art competitions.

What? NowCon Where? The Wesley Centre, cnr Berry and Junction St, Nowra When? 1st October, 9am-5pm How much? Entry is free but some competitions like the Guitar Hero comp have a $2 entry fee Internets? Yes, right here!

[Photo: South Coast Register]


    I live very close by, but I doubt I'll go. I don't think conventions are really for me. Maybe if a few friends wanted to go, but eh..

    (Though to be honest, I wouldn't really call the South Coast nowhere near a capital city. The 2hr train ride isn't THAT bad xD)

    "How much? Entry is free but come competitions..."

    Wait What? lol

    like the Guitar Hero comp have a $2 entry fee...

    oh, I see... just an incorrect word making it sound a bit suss! :p

      Oh dear. Fixed!

    I was born and bred in Wollongong (about an hour north of Nowra) and in my honest opinion I doubt we have the demographic's to make a geek convention successful. Hope I'm wrong though.

    It would be a pleasant surprise if Sydney siders came down for it, as long as they don't stop in Wollongong! jks :)

      You'll be shocked when they show up in their droves. Slovenly, unkempt nerds who've never seen the light of day, forgotten by human eyes since their teen years all converging on a convention centre.

    Comming from the Area i can tell you that nowra is the worst place ive ever been to on the eastern seaboard. its the only blemish on the intire south coast.

    Do not even think for a second that it would be worth the 2hour trip from sydney

      Nowra is a fantastic town. We have beaches on one side, mountains on the other, and businesses which are actually surviving. Maybe Nowra and the area would be better off without your negativity

        nowra does not have beaches, the beeches are in Husky and jervis bay and ulladullah, nowra is 20mins inland and piece of shit town that no one wants to go to. Not even folks in bomoderry want to be right acros the shoalhaven river from that joint.

          Sorry to hear that you had bad experiences in Nowra... We are trying to make the place better the only way you can - by doing something about it... Hope that one day you'll see a different Nowra to one you have in your head - I sure do!

    Wow thanks Tracey for the article.
    I am one of the organisers for the Con and while we would love to get as big as say Supernova we are happy to just allow people to be involved in the culture and create an event that people of similar thoughts can come together and enjoy the long weekend on the South Coast. We may not have everything down here but sure try to do as much as we can with what we have...
    We also realise that the only way things can get better is by making them - so please support Nowcon and help us make this event work...

      I will give you points for trying to bring in something to help the local area, and do it in somewhere outside the norm. But I do have questions.

      1) What plans do you have to get around the fact that the area is generally lacking in public transport (not everyone has a car, and that is a long way to drive even from somewhere like Wollongong)?
      2) How about in making sure people have somewhere to stay, since Nowra is not known for it's hotels?
      3) Have you made sure the place is located near more then a few places where someone can get something to eat that will remain open long after 8pm?
      4) Do you have plans to pull in something that might interest people into going to your event? Or even set it apart and make people want to visit it beyond the fact it's in Nowra and that is it? Do you even have a reason why people should go to this other then it's in Nowra? Or even make people want to come back in years to come?
      5) Why have you wanted this event to be started in Nowra, and not somewhere else that is on the South Coast (like Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Narooma, etc)?

      Now don't get me wrong, I understand what you want to do and support you with it. But when you want to make this bigger then events like Supernova (who pull in crowds larger then the population of Nowra) I have to ask if this is going to go as well as they might want. And from what I can see, I'm not thinking it is.

      So far I'm not seeing what this can do to make itself an event that might pull in people from other parts of the country/international guests (as you imply for the future), but even get people from Sydney, the Southern Highlands, or Sydney. Let alone people from the Illawarra area.

      Which brings up another issue, why not hold it in the Illawarra? Or the Southern Highlands or those other places? Sure those places have their own issues, but they are areas that are more likely to support overnight visiters then somewhere like Nowra looks to be able to, saying nothing on something that is meant to be a noteworthy con each year. Hell, even Canberra has a better case at holding this event, and that sorta, kinda maybe has a nightlife to give people something to do during the night after the con is over.

      If you want some advice on this, rethink it for next year. Make sure it's held in a place that can support it AND has something interesting for people to do when not at the con. Make sure there are transport opitions in place for it, places for people to stay and places where people can go and get food/handout. Better still, go to the local business assiocation and get their help in not just promoting it, but getting the network of businesses behind it you need to make it a success.

        Thanks Squato. I am one of the organisers, and also a local councillor for the shoalhaven city, and will attempt to answer some of your questions.

        1. This is a problem anywhere outside of a major city. We want this to be a regional event and that is one of the hurdles we have.
        2. The event is planned for the Saturday of the long weekend, in the middle of the holidays for a reason. A. most of our target market for our first event is local. We want this to be a fun family friendly event. And we had planned for this one to be a small first event to get things started. We aren't expecting major number down from Sydney etc, and even if people do chose to come down (which we would be very excited about), it starts at 9am, and finishes at 5pm, giving people more than enough time to come down on the train and head back home again on the train, or drive.
        3. The location of the venue is smack bang in the middle of Nowra's CBD. If you got to Google Maps and look at Junction St, Nowra you will see this is the main shopping drag of nowra. There is a pub across the road, take away joints all over the place, and a few restaurants in a short distance. On top of that, the church we are holding the event, has kindly donated the building to us at no cost, on the basis that their youth group can sell cans of drink, chips etc. Which seeing as this event is a real seed event, we need to keep costs down and include the community as much as possible.
        4. Our goal is to encourage the local area that what we do is fun, cool and can be enjoyed by all. Our real ope is not to overtake Supanova, or even really take them on. But we want to encourage other people from regional, and rural areas, that you can have fun putting on something like this if you get the community involved.
        5. We are holding the event in Nowra for a few reasons. Firstly, the organisers are all from Nowra. Secondly, Nowra (and surrounding towns) has a large selection of businesses who cater to pop-culture (Not Just Comics, It's Berry Neccessary, Dean Swift Books, Barking Mad Berry). Thirdly, Nowra is the largest town south of Wollongong, and is a regional centre. We would hope, that down the track we may, or others may be able to run similar events all over the state.

        We don't aim to make this bigger than Supanova. If we wanted to take them on, we wouldn't be doing it in Nowra. Our whole aim is to encourage people that it is cool to be into comics, video games, board games, card games, table top gaming, collecting etc. We want to provide a portal for people to come together in a regional aspect and enjoy what they do. We want to give local retailers a chance to support the pop-culture community, and thank them for their continued patronage.

        We would love big guest stars etc, but to begin with it's not on the cards. We are being realistic, and cost effective. We have had local media support, local business support, council support etc. And that is the way we want it. Where it is about supporting local. We can all go to Supanova or armageddon and really enjoy the show which si put on. But at the end of the day, we need to support our local area, our local comic book stores, our local book stores, our local game shops. And if we don't do that then we can't expect service, we can't expect to continue to see an industry in Australia which supports our life style and our love of pop-culture.

        It is so simple to just go online and save $2-3. But each purchase online, out of your town, even out of your country, means less jobs, less income, less spending in your local area. We are seeing more and more things disappearing, we need to support our local businesses, and if putting on a small con, which costs us very little, makes us no money, but supports our local businesses, encourages our local community and gives people a fun time. Then I am all for it.

        We appreciate your comments and a lot of them are valid questions or comments. Please understand why we are doing this and what we are doing it for.

        Just to add on, in regards to getting the local businesses onside etc. I am a local councillor, one of the other organisers is councils Economic development officer (who is doing this in his spare time), one is our local comic shop proprietor, and another is a marketing director for a national company, who is also on the executive of the Shoalhaven Business Chamber. We are all experienced in event management, marketing and networking. And that is why we have been able to keep our costs low, get local media on board, and the reason behind why we want to encourage the whole ideal of "support local"

        Hope this answers some of your questions and we would love to have you come down and join in on the day. If you do make it down, come and find us as we would love to have a chat and catch up

    NSW is home to the biggest geek-fest in the country (Remember this little thing called SUPANOVA!)... Talk about spoiled children

      Armageddon > Supanova :P

        You miss my point. NSW doesn't need another con. Maybe another state would be better?

          Please have a look at my comment above. We are not wanting to take on Supanova, and be the biggest or the best, but to encourage our local community and to have fun with like-minded individuals.

    This is going to be awesome. I live in the area and I can't wait. Lets see more events like these all over the state and country. Local people supporting local business. Sounds good. Congrats to the organisers.

      Hey great to hear - hope to catch you at the Guitar Hero comp. I'll be running that so drop by and say G'Day!

    It's in Nowra, umm right... Unless the magic fairy of 'locking up threatening and drunk people loitering about' is doing the rounds i'll give it a miss... and before i get jumped on, yes i have lived in Nowra, yes i do go back there regularly, and YES the real coast is on the coast not 20mins inland. Big respect to the guys of the police service there, they have there hands full...

    A resident of Nowra, I'd like to hope this event does alright. Mind you, I can't say a comic book convention would get me out of the house. A gaming convention on the other hand would get me there.

    Here's another interesting editorial piece relating to Nowcon

    I don't understand how this article has turned into a discussion about how bad this town called Nowra is. Well done to the organizers for giving it a go! Maybe an event like this might encourage other areas to celebrate pop culture rather than another potato festival and as one write suggests if this event works then maybe it could be taken to other regional locations.

    I cant wait to see how it goes, and well done the organizers for taking a look at Nowra and trying to do something to improve it. Its a convention if you don't like it don't go but have the good grace to shut up and let everyone ells enjoy it. Comic books are huge world wide and the people who read them are fanatics, and good luck to them. Its in Nowra because that is where it is it is not optional the people running it are from Nowra so this is where it is if while you have been in Nowra you have been affected by drunks and yobos then its more a reflection or the company you keep. I have been here for thirteen years and have run around town in the middle of the night with large groups of kids and have done so with no issue. I cant believe how many people are ready to have a go at some one trying to do good. So I am sorry if Nowra is too far to travel if you live in the gong or southern highlands

    for crying out loud grow up and get a life

    What a great thing for Nowra, well done to all those involved and as a closet GEEK....have a great weekend.

    I think this is a great thing for anywhere, it doesn't matter if it is big or small. Nowra has really changed alot in the last few years, only for the better I think. I mean, can you believe there is a comic book store in Nowra now, not to mention the two games stores, especially one selling great varieties of anime movies. Its great now we can access these things better now than years ago and I think just the fact there IS a geek convention in the Shoalhaven area is cool. Whoever thought this up deserves a medal.

    Nowra may be a rubbish town which has a disposition towards technology, and a population which could use with a massive int stat boost, but... Aren't the people involved in this working hard to get it up and running?

    Aren't those few people who have an interest in this going to be fellow geeks and those with an interest? I'm sure there will be some degree of security to keep the trash out, and the police station isn't too far away, I think?

    I like to think of this as more of a geeky get together. There doesn't seem to be a lot of shops invovled, but oh well, it's the first year. I usually like to leave new cons for a year or two before going, to avoid the rubbish of them setting themselves up. However, seeing as this one is local, and free to go to? Save for travel expenses, I figure I may as well check it out.

    I just hope that this event will continue, and will grow to be something to look forward to each year.

    "The South Coast of NSW..."


    State with Sydney inside it. This is a Freedom To Bitch Free Zone.

    Lay off people
    I am from Nowra and it isnt that bad here!
    Sure there are some problems but most of those are being exaggerated here and most of those you would find anywhere.
    Needs a massive int boost? There are plenty of people here training to be doctors, programmers and teachers.

    On actual topic of the con, I am very much looking forward to it. I have alot of respect for mr Tribe for attempting something so ambitious. I am sure that this venture will be enjoyable and I am twice as sure that this is an event which will improve each year.

    I work in Nowra but live in the Illawarra and heard about this through Triple J this afternoon and think its great these guys are giving it a go. I'm quite critical of the area but if more people were holding things like this when I grew up there it might have been more bearable. Nowra has a real culture of bogans and car lovers etc so to bring people together who are more interested in all things games,comics etc is only a good thing.

    I didnt even know Nowra had a comic store. I'll have to stop by sometime.

      Nick that is the whole reason why we are behind this and giving up our time to make this event work. I say if you want change you have to make it yourself. Hope to see you at the Con... if you don't make it please check out the Comic store (and many of other great little enterprises)

      By the way that is AWESOME we got on Triple J... makes me so happy!

    Sadly i had to work and couldn't go.
    For those who complain about Nowra : I think those guys trying very hard to make it more exciting and we really don't need all those negative comments. You don't like Nowra >> stay away. It's that easy.
    Well done Guys. You got in the Paper, i believe Radio 2st and Triple J. WOW!

    Well the day is over and it was huge hit with heaps of people through the door and and not a problem in sight. Cant wait till next year to do it all over again well done Nowcon you did very well

    What can I say? What a GREAT DAY! It was Awesome! I had a truly great and inspired day. Well done to the people who pulled it off.

    I've been to a lot of conventions in my day but this one was inspiring. Usually you go to a convention, get fobbed off from a couple of the stalls, not really get anything new and leave thinking I could have got the same thing from a normal store.

    But this, this had a true community spirit to it. People weren't there just to sell you something. They were there to share idea's and have good discussions about our "Geek" culture. Chatting about great things like art, stories, toys, things we used to play with when we were young and things we'd like to see and do now. I haven't had such a decent conversation with someone I'd just met in so long.

    I think part of the strength of it being in Nowra was the people there aren't so full of themselves that you can have a conversation there without having to worry about your money. You can just chat. I was fortunate enough to have a chat to one of the organisers and we both agreed that the whole point of Nowcon was to just get some likeminded people together, to share in the simple joy what our interest represents and have a good time. Essentially to build our community

    And to all those who slagged Nowra well i can understand that. I grew up there. Back then there wasn't much to do. But things have certainly changed. For starters there a comic shop there now! But as a whole Nowra has grown and is still growing into such a wonderful place. So much so that my wife and I have decided that we are going to move back there. It is certainly a much better place for us to live and raise a family then in Sydney.

    So I am personally looking forward to building OUR community back in Nowra and i'd like to say a big WELL DONE to Nowcon. Had a great time and cant wait till the next one!

    Will there be anything like this in Nowra again?

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