User Groups and Newsletters
The User Group
These sprang up out of a desire both to meet with like-minded people and to find the sort of information and support that could only be provided by other users. It is true in some instances that a felt lack of support from Dick Smith Electronics contributed to the need for user groups.
Most groups met on a regular basis, usually monthly. Typical activities would include hardware and software demonstrations, user assistance, and of course, partaking of food and drink.
Many of the user groups also ran software 'libraries' which gave their members access to a much broader range of programs than were available to those on a limited budget.
Known User Groups
- Ad Lib Vee Zee Micro Club (based in Darwin)
- Brisbane VZ Users Workshop
- HVVZUG (Hunter Valley VZ Users' Group)
- Vee Zed Down Under Club (based in Melbourne)
- Victorian VZ200 User Group (also based in Melbourne)
- VZ200 Users' Club (founded by Tim Hartnell)
- WAVZ 200/300 Users' Club (a Western Australian group founded by Andre Schoen)
Along with the user group came the newsletter. The newsletter allowed a much broader audience to find support, information and ideas than just the local meeting. While most newsletters were the product of a user group that actually met, occasionally newsletters appeared because of an individual. The best newsletters provided a mix of hardware and software projects, reviews, news and editorial content to an Australian-wide audience. They also allowed for advertising of product that was sourced outside of the official distributor.
Editors of newsletters usually found themselves in a long-term role - perhaps due to their character, perhaps because no-one else wanted the job, and probably a mixture of both. Editors such as Harry Huggins, John D'Alton and Joe Leon in particular deserve a lot of credit for the sterling performance they put in over a number of years.
- Hunter Valley VZ Journal aka Hunter Valley VZ Users' Group Newsletter aka Hunter Valley VZ Users' Group Magazine - published by the HVVZUG (Hunter Valley VZ Users' Group), mostly by Joe Leon
- LE'VZ 200/300 OOP (Owners, Operators and Programmers) aka LE'VZ - published by John D'Alton (the computer section of his website can be found [here])
- The Vee Zedder - published by Leon Young of Bunbury, Western Australia
- Vee Zee News - published by John Waters of Cheltenham, South Australia
- VZDU - published by Vee Zed Down Under Club
- VZ200 Interface aka Interface - published by Tim Hartnell
- VZ Link - published by Peter Hill
- VZ User - published by Mark Harwood
Some of the information in this and related pages has been based on Bob Kitch's 1991 article 'A History of VZ User Groups in Australia and New Zealand' as published in HVVZUG Journal 34 (April 1991) and 35 (June 1991).
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