First of all let us explain our name The Melbourne Wankers.
Wanking is an Aussie term that means masturbation (that is, jacking-off), and a wanker means a bit of an oddball, someone who believes in, and enjoys what he is doing even though he is not mainstream.
Hence the name for a group of gays whose sexual interests are not widely considered as mainstream sex by many other in the male gay population.
The group began in January 1990 organised by the late Ian Goller. Ian had enjoyed the many parties held by the San Francisco Jacks and so it was inevitable that he would try to get similar events established in Melbourne.
He wanted an environment where men could engage in safe, mastubatory sex in a group situation where all men were welcome, irrespective of age or physical stature. Where men HIV positive or not, could happily have sexual satisfaction without bias, fear or antagonism. Where men could communicate with one another through talking, and laughing, and through friendship.
To this end he opened his own home to men of like mind. Ian was a Health Professional lecturing in safe sex practices, and as such believed that the Melbourne Wankers could serve as a model for cities all over the world whereby safe sex, friendship, communication and a special form of gay culture hitherto rarely seen, could be developed.
Because of the size of the homes, attendances were limited to approximately 35 guys. By mid 1993 homes were getting harder to find, and as a result of a couple of wider advertised parties we had a lot more guys wanting to join in. By October 1993 we decided that we needed a permanent location. One that would be exclusively ours for the night, had showers, a snack bar, lockers for clothing and one big room for all activities to take place in. We found this at a conveniently located inner suburban sauna (bath house).
The bath house was usually closed on a Monday night so we came to an arrangement with the friendly management - we would advertise, set up the room for the evening (we cover the carpeted floor with ex-army tarpaulin covered with masses of old sheets) and clean up afterwards. The bath house would staff the door, their snack bar and wash all the towels and sheets in their industrial washer. We set an admission price of $14.00, arrival time between 7 and 8 pm, meeting on the second and fourth Monday of every month. The local gay magazine created a new logo for us and we were soon averaging 40-80 guys getting their rocks off over a three hour period.
We can only accommodate 100 at a time, and we have achieved this a couple of times, turning away 30 guys on one particular night
We advertise in all forms of the gay press. We have permanent weekly and fortnightly items in the classified sections, take frequent display advertisements in the two local gay newspapers and occasionally a display advertisement.