SMASH! was founded in 2007 by Katie Huang and Paul Aeria. An accomplished artist in her own right, Katie was looking for an event with a stronger focus on art than most conventions in Australia had at the time (Paul just had some free time). Katie and Paul were quickly joined by others and the event expanded into a full-fledged anime and manga convention.
The organisers formed SMASH Inc, an incorporated non-profit organisation, to keep running SMASH! after they had moved on and it’s SMASH Inc that runs the convention to this day. The convention still has a strong focus on art and creativity, and despite almost doubling in size from its original incarnation, it retains the fun, humour and irreverence it had when it was a couple of people sitting in Hyde Park saying ‘We should put on an anime convention.’
The first SMASH! was held at the Roundhouse at the University of New South Wales and attracted an incredible 1,435 people. Which, you know, is pretty good for the first one.
SMASH! built on the success of the first event and brought Hidenobu Kiuchi, the first Japanese seiyū to an Australian anime convention. The location was again the Roundhouse at the University of New South Wales and this time 2,295 people came along.
In its third year, SMASH! expanded into a two-day event. This time 2,709 people crammed into the Roundhouse and helped make 2009 the biggest event we’d run to date.
In its fourth year, SMASH! brushed away a tear and moved to the Sydney Town Hall. It also brought over a stunning five international guests: Yūko Miyamura, Tiffany Grant, Matt Greenfield, Shaun Healey and Mikiko Ponczcek. Despite being just one day, attendance increased to 2,810 (so many in fact, that we had to close ticket sales and turn people away!).
Following up 2010 was always going to be hard but the combination of Shinichi Watanabe, Martin Billany, Hiroki Kikuta, Kenji Ito and spacious the Sydney Convention Centre ensured a stunning success. The convention was followed by a thrilling concert by Eminence. In this fifth year, we welcomed 5,405 to our new home.
2011 was a tough act to beat, but we managed it as in our sixth year we introduced our first all voice actor line up of Shin-ichiro Miki, Sakura Tange and Yūko Miyamura to our halls. We also had the opportunity to run our first ever Voice Acting Workshop spearheaded by Yūko Miyamura. This year, 6,200 people made their way through our doors.
2013 was a bittersweet year with the impending demolition of the Sydney Convention Centre we’d called home for the past few years. We went out with a bang by welcoming Masakazu Morita, Haruko Momoi, Matsubara Hidenori and LOVERIN TAMBURIN onto our stage. Almost 8,000 attendees crammed into the event halls, with more turning up even after ticket sales had closed. The event was followed by Vocaloid Night, where we welcomed kz from Livetune and Hachioji-P.
It was a chance for new beginnings in 2014, as we took up residence at Rosehill Gardens for our biggest event at our largest venue yet. The event was extended to run over both Saturday and Sunday, our second two-day convention since 2009. We had the honour of welcoming Reika, Toshihiro Kawamoto and Kotono Mitsuishi. We also held the World Cosplay Summit Australian Preliminaries and World Karaoke Grand Prix for the first time. 13617 people made the trip this year, almost 10,000 more than our humble beginnings in 2009!
SMASH! celebrated its 10 year anniversary in style with special events and guests.
What does the future bring? 2017 will be our 4th year at Rosehill Gardens and with 10 years of experience behind us, you can bet we have things under control. As always, we're planning a great lineup of special guests and events and are doing everything we can to make this year better than ever! We always set our sights high, and we're determined to deliver. If you have the same drive and want to join us we might have a spot for you, too.