Nicholas Pyers
30 October, 2008
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Queensland is home to both one of the “Elder Statesmen” of Australian Apple User Groups and conversely one of Australia’s youngest MUGs. They are the Toowoomba Apple & Macintosh User Group and the Hervey Bay Macintosh User Group.

Toowoomba Apple & Macintosh User Group (TAAMUG) recently celebrated their twentieth anniversary whilst Hervey Bay Macintosh User Group (HBMUG) only formed a few months ago.

Toowoomba is located about 130km west of Brisbane and the Toowoomba Apple & Macintosh User Group are based there, although they have and support members from all over Queensland and beyond.

I believe TAAMUG are unique in Apple User Group history: many groups that are now called “Macintosh User Groups” started life off as “Apple User Groups” initially supporting the Apple // range of computers that were popular in the late ’70′s and throughout the 1980′s. They morphed into MUGs as more and more their members migrated to the Macintosh platform.

However, TAAMUG started their life off as a purely Macintosh User Group called “Toowoomba Mac Users Club” in August 1988, but after their Officers attended a Apple User Group Convention in 1989, they realised that many other Apple Groups were still supporting the older Apple // range of computers and this was a way to increase their own membership. So they changed their name to the current “Toowoomba Apple & Macintosh User Group (TAAMUG)” and began welcoming members who used the Apple // computer.

BTW: Now most of these same groups are reverting back to “Apple User Groups” through their support of iPod and iPhone users, as well as Mac users.

TAAMUG now define themselves as “a small group of Apple computer users, who have come together as they are keen to improve their abilities by supporting and guiding one another, sharing ideas, knowledge and skills, in a happy, friendly environment”.

They meet on the first Wednesday of each month, except January, at the Education Center in Barkers Road, Toowoomba, commencing from 7:30pm. Meeting topics are decided by the members themselves, who vote on topics they’d like to see presented.

Visitors are always welcome to come along to TAAMUG meetings in order to “try before you buy” your membership. They have two levels of membership: $36 per year for Adults/Families and $18pa for full-time students.

MacClips, is TAAMUG’s 12-page printed magazine. Its present format was introduced in October 1996 and it became full colour in July last year. It is amazing the amount of information and news they cram in to this 12-page newsletter each month.

In December 2004, TAAMUG successfully applied for Incorporation and in August 2008 they celebrated their twentieth anniversary and we hope to see them continue to grow for another twenty years.

Now, up on the shores of the South Pacific Ocean, and is only a short distance from Fraser Island, you’ll find a newly formed MUG called the Hervey Bay Macintosh User Group who currently have approximately 20 avid Mac users as members, but they are growing.

Despite their small size, they have a diverse membership range… most, but certainly not all, are retired, or have relocated to Hervey Bay to get more relaxation time. 80% have recently switched from PCs to Macs! And most consider themselves beginners.

HBMUG currently don’t produce a newsletter, but they do have a very swish online presence via their website that contains their latest news and announcements.

They conduct monthly meetings on the first Thursday from 7pm and boy are they organised… they have meeting topics planned out until August 2009… which is amazing for such a small group as some of the older and larger groups struggle along from month to month for topic ideas.

At present, HBMUG do not have an annual membership fee, but rather charge a fee for those who attend their meetings. Visitors are most welcome to attend, but HBMUG ask that you contact them via the Contact Page on their website to determine the current venue location, as meetings are currently held at different members’ homes.

At less than six months old, HBMUG have not yet considered Incorporation and are more than happy to keep things very informal. Yet it is a highly organised and prepared group, so I’m sure we’ll see them around in another twenty years ;)

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