The Obernewtyn Fan Club was created in September 1999 by Shannon Jones
, a then year 9 student, Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) resident and avid fan of the Obernewtyn Chronicles. When she had an operation to have her wisdom teeth out in those September school holidays she wasn't really able to go out in public for more than a week afterwards as her face was very swollen and bruised and, in her words, she "looked like Frankenstein's monster".
So rather than watch horrible daytime television for 2 weeks she decided to do something useful and create a website. So she did, and this is the product of the humble beginnings that were the 'Unofficial Obernewtyn Chronicles Fan Club'.
About 6 months after the site was off and rolling, Isobelle Carmody sent Shannon an e-mail saying how impressed she was with the site and gave her permission (as she holds her own copyright) for it to be known as the Official Obernewtyn Chronicles fan club, should we wish it.
Not so long after the kick-off of the site a member joined up who went by the nickname Vivacia
(also from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). As she knew HTML (the language of writing webpages) she offered to help Shannon out with maintaining things on the site. A lot of what the site was in the early days, including Obernewtyn.net's trademark purple colour scheme, is owed to her and we'd like to take this opportunity to thank her for all she's done.
Several months after the site's birth the members were split into 4 guilds. We decided not to name them after the actual guild in the book for a few reasons:
a) we didn't have anough people to fill more than 4 and
b) if for example you were put in the teknoguild, but your favourite Talent was farseeking, you might get peeved that you weren't in the Farseeker's guild instead. So we split into four guilds and asked them to come up with their own names.
The result was the Wanderers
In February 2000, a member and web designer, Min
(from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), asked Viv in an msn chat if she needed any help converting Obernewtyn.net over from it's old (black and green) format to it's then-new spiffy lavender format, as the site was quite
large, and we weren't using CSS/style sheets (yes yes, teknobabble) at that time.
It was at that time that Viv asked if Min would be interested in making one of her other websites, (www.obernewtyn-theories.com - which has since closed and been merged into obernewtyn.net), official sister site of Obernewtyn.net.
Around the same time Min was brought on board, so were two more - Clare
(from Sydney, NSW, Australia), to coordinate the Writing competitions and Avra
(from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia).
So, what was two became five - and, at the rate the site was growing (and is still growing!), it needed 5 people to maintain it!
In about May of 2004, our original message boards hosted by Network 54 were raided by both trolls and spammers. One of our long time members Timm
suggested that we look into a new message board system, hosted by proboards. Opening at the end of May 2004, proboards brought the community spirit of Obernewtyn out in all of us - replacing the old message boards with an organised log in system. With the addition of a Members Only Area, in which people are personally screened by Obernewtyn.net Masters of Obernewtyn to gain access, we've made it made Obernewtyn.net more secure for our members than ever.
Shannon contacted Viv, Avra, Clare and Min near the end of 2004 and notified us that she hadn't been on the site for such a long time, she was handing over the site details to us. Shannon is and always will be the Master of Obernewtyn - we'll always leave the doors open to you! [act]sniff[/act]. Along with Shannon's semi-departure came Viv's notification that she still wishes to be a member of the site but cannot afford the time to maintain it any longer. [act]grugs Viv and Shannon[/act]
While setting up proboards, Min asked a few of our regular members to beta test the message boards. One of these members was the Buneater, of Sustinare Ridiculum fame, who came to be known as Bunne
. She was made a Master of Obernewtyn at proboards thanks to her integrity, and so it was only a matter of time before Avra, Clare and I made Buneater an official Obernewtyn.net web tech as well. After a year an a half of being an extremely valuable web tek, Bunne resigned as a MoO to give her more time to pursue her writing career and other endeavours. Good luck Bunne!
Months later, with more and more work piling up as the site grew larger still, another long-time member Emerald
was asked to become a Master of Obernewtyn. Emerald had been one of the dedicated organisers of the Moonfair for a long time, and was the Dreamweaver guildmistress at the time, plus managed the Obernewtyn.net Bookshelf
- so it was a logical progression to make her position official :)
So then there was four: Avra (of the Ashlings), Emerald (of the Dreamweavers), Clare (of the Wanderers) and Min (of the Mystics) - a MoO representative for each Guild.
Fast forward once more, this time to 2007...
2006 was a huge year for Obernewtyn.net. The four MoOs were finding it increasingly difficult to manage a html-based web site, and a proboards extension, due to the sheer amount of members joining every day, and the massive amount of content the site had accrued. Not to mention there were two sign-up systems, to maintain - in short, things were getting out of control!
In March 2006, the MoOs decided to start converting the html-based Obernewtyn.net and proboards message board system to a single, unified database-driven content management system (CMS) - and you're looking at the result! Obernewtyn.net 4.0 was released on Jan 1st, 2007, incorporating over 7 years of archived information, writing, artwork, forum posts and members into the one area. It was a very extensive process, and a very big learning curve (since only one of us was familiar at the time with SQL and php, the programming languages this site's built on), but we did it!
And now we find ourselves in 2011...
Hi all, it's Min here with another update. I can't help but be nostalgic reading through the above and trying to think of how to possible condense all that's happened in the last 4-5 years on Obernet into a couple of paragraphs. For me and many of us Obernewtyn.net has been, at this point in time, a place where we've spent the last twelve years of our lives.
Since the conversion in 2006, Obernewtyn.net has expanded. An extensive encyclopaedia (including character, location, terminology, maps and chapter summaries of each of Isobelle's novels), bibliography of all Isobelle's books and editions, interviews, writing and art competitions, fanfiction area, theories area, not to mention the most active area of all - the forums - and that's not even ALL the sections of the site - Obernewtyn.net has established itself into what many, including Isobelle Carmody herself, consider to be the primary resource for information about Isobelle Carmody and her books. Moonfair is still going strong; in 2011, we're about to celebrate our 9th official
Moonfair. We're at over 2500 registered members, an active facebook
presence and have been linked to from blogs, other authors websites, book publisher websites, and even published in a magazine
There's been many MoOs come and go over the years; including Ariadne
, who have only very recently stepped down from their roles as their real lives have taken over [act]shakes fist at real life[/act].
The MoO team up until 2014 was Min (yes, still :P ), ElspethInnle
, and Agyllian
, all of which are able to manage the background coding of the site, as well as the front-end duties which include anything from answering questions to building graphics to creating competitions.
Along with the MoOs, there is a large staff of Guardians, who moderate the forums ensuring that trolls and spammers are kept at bay.
In late 2014, DargaFleas
agreed to take on the role of MoO on the site, since ElspethInnle had that pesky real life encroach on her Obernet time.
We've formed official friendships with Penguin Australia, Allen & Unwin Australia, and Bloomsbury UK, Isobelle's two Australian and single United Kingdom publishing houses. The nature of these alliances are purely to benefit members, and include special things like exclusive interviews and previews of upcoming covers, freebies for competitions, and - perhaps our biggest achievement - being published in the back of the A-format edition of The Stone Key
, with member quotes about what Obernewtyn means to them. Our publishing contacts have been so wonderful to us, that it leaves me near-speechless; all I can come up with is THANK YOU. You guys rock.
And finally we couldn't have done any of this without the wonderful Isobelle Carmody. Many of us now have regular contact with Isobelle, both personally and 'professionally' (if we could presume for a moment to call Obernet professional ;) ). Many of our news items come from exclusive content that she has asked the publishing houses to provide us with; she makes a point of asking them to allow us to announce new books to be published before it's announced anywhere else on the web. It means a lot to everyone on the site that she has such a high regard for us, and has so much time for us at book launches and writers festivals and all the other events she holds or attends. Isobelle's writing brought all of us to this site, and she herself is one of the main forces that keeps us coming back.
If you have made it this far, you deserve a medal! Until the next update, misfits :) [act]grugs[/act]