Australian Skeptics National Convention 2012, Melbourne

FINAL update – It’s all over for the 2012 National Skeptics Convention, Melbourne.

A great time was had by all. If you missed out – sorry, there is always the next one, held 22-24 November 2013 in Canberra. See the Canberra Skeptics and the Australian Skeptics National web site for details.

Welcome to the main page for the Australian Skeptics National Conference 2012.

The annual convention of the Australian Skeptics will be held in Melbourne this year, 2012.

The convention organisers extend a warm invitation to Skeptics, critical thinkers, free thinkers, or anyone who has ever doubted anything that they’ve ever seen or read, to gather in Melbourne with like-minded people for the convention.

Location: The Spot Basement Theatre, University of Melbourne, Faculty of Business and Economics building, 198 Berkeley Street Carlton.

In more detail: Find your way to the corner of Berkeley and Pelham Streets Carlton, you shouldn’t have any trouble seeing the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Business and Economics Building. It’s a large multi-story building with a characteristic spotty design on the outside (See photo below). To find the “The Spot Basement Theatre” go into the foyer of the building and down the stairs.

Dates: Friday 30th November to Sunday 2nd December.

Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided at the Spot Theatre on Saturday and Sunday.

As the convention is now just days away, it’s important to keep up with the latest information i.e. which events are still available.  Updates shown below.

For a detailed rundown of events, check out the full Convention Program here.


A national and international star studded array of presenters include James “The Amazing” Randi, DJ Grothe (President of the James Randi Foundation), Brian Thompson (Outreach Coordinator of JREF), Rebecca Watson (SGU blogger), Lawrence “Unbelievable” Leung (as seen on TV!), Dr. Rachael Dunlop, Richard Saunders, Lynne Kelly, Dr. Krissy Wilson, Dr. Ken Harvey (Choice Magazine Consumer of the Year Award), Adam vanLangenberg, Dr Cameron Martin (from Friends of Science in Medicine), Meredith Doig, Stephen Mayne (media commentator and shareholder activist), plus many others.

The Spot Theatre is a great new venue, capable of holding 400 people.

All the main attendee tasks, including purchasing a ticket, program and orientation information for the conference can be accessed via the buttons below.

Meet and Greet

To kick off the Convention, a special “Meet and Greet” event will be held from 5.30pm on Friday 30 November, at the Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street Melbourne.

Drinks and nibbles will be provided, along with entertainment and access to the Museum exhibits. It promises to be a fantastic evening, and a chance to mingle and chat with fellow attendees and presenters.

Please note that attendance at the Meet and Greet is only included with a full Convention ticket. Single-day ticket holders will need to purchase a separate ticket if they wish to attend the Meet and Greet.

The Convention

This is the main event, and what we’re all looking forward to! Your standard registration will get you access to two full days of speakers at the Spot Theatre (198 Berkeley Street, Carlton), one of the newest theatres at the University of Melbourne.

This is where we can hear from some of our greatest Australian and international Skeptics, and catch up on what’s happening in the world of skepticism.

The convention will run from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm on Saturday 1 December and Sunday 2 December. Both days will be fully catered with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, and continuous tea and coffee. Please ensure you let us know about any dietary requirements when you buy your ticket!

Gala Dinner – SOLD OUT!!

The Convention’s Gala Dinner will be held from 7.00 pm on Saturday December 1 in the ANZ Pavilion, The Arts Centre, 100 St Kilda Road Melbourne.

Tickets for this event are sold separately! Featuring great food and entertainment, all the details can be found here.


For interstate or international visitors there are accommodation options available, from cheap to superior, near the venues. All three convention venues (see program) are within walking distance or a short tram trip.

For those on a budget there is student college accommodation near Melbourne University that starts at around $63 per night, although this usually needs to be booked early. As at early October, several Colleges were reporting that they have booked out. We are continuing to pursue this option. For the organised and socially oriented skeptic, you could consider sharing a family room at a nearby hotel. Motels are another accommodation option if you intend to stay a little longer in Melbourne and make use of a hire a car.

Our suggestions for accommodation and transport arrangements can be found via the buttons below.

You can expect all the usual great things from an Australian Skeptics conference: panel discussions, the announcement of The Bent Spoon award, the chance to chat with like minded skeptics and a great line up of international and Australian speakers.

Please consider joining fellow skeptics in Melbourne, the city of trams, Australian rules football, good coffee, good food, highly interesting and often delightfully surprising weather, for this celebration of science and reason.


November – December is likely to be warm and sunny but still within the “four seasons in one day” category. It may be wise to check the forecast for Melbourne shortly before you travel and bring optional layers of clothing anyway.


If you’re on Facebook, please consider liking the Facebook page for the convention. The Facebook page is also an excellent place to make suggestions and ask questions.


If you’re on Twitter, consider following Auskepcon.


What do the convention venues look like? And where exactly is the Spot Theatre?  – Please see the photo gallery page.

Ticket Price

The convention ticket price is $280 or $220 for a concession. The Convention Gala Dinner will be an additional $110.

All in all we expect it to be a great conference, not to be missed, so make sure that you book early!


19 Nov: Single day tickets are now available for either Saturday or Sunday for $140 per day.

27 Nov: Some of our international guests have now landed in Melbourne, James Randi, DJ Grothe and Brian Thompson.

28 Nov: Due to catering requirements, ticket sales for the Fund Raising Dinner and the Saturday night Gala Dinner have now closed. You can still purchase tickets on-line for the two day convention and tickets will be availble at the door.

28 Nov: Rebecca Watson has now landed in Melbourne.

29 Nov: James Randi visited McKinnon Secondary College. Despite the heat, 300 students where well entertained.

29 Nov: The first official convention event is now over. The Special Dinner at the Royal Society was a superb evening. It was a great venue and the occasion was admirably hosted by Matt Kippen. Thanks to DJ Grothe, Brian Thompson, Rebecca Watson and “the man who needs no introduction” for engaging so generously with everyone who came along.

Note: Last minute tickets for the convention will be availble from 8am Saturday at the door.


See who’s working hard to bring you the 2012 convention.

(click graphic to enlarge)

Convention T-shirt


The convention organisers wish to thank the following people and organisations for helping promote the convention:

The Skeptic Zone Podcast – Thanks for the repeated mentions Richard

The Richard Dawkins Foundation (Promotion here)

Rebecca Watson of Skepchick – Thanks for the SGU mention and on the Skepchick website

Australian Skeptics National Website (Promotion here)

The Australian Skeptics Journal, The Skeptic – in repeated issues, thanks Tim

Embiggen Books – Thanks to Warren for putting up the posters and spreading the word

Codenix Blog – Thanks Lucas

Losing the Lucky Country Blog – Thanks Paul

The rbutr web site – Thanks Shane

The Science Teachers Association of Victoria – thanks for printing the ad

The Existentialist Society – Thanks David

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