The Harbour City Bears have a new president, Jonny Bastin. The UK-born Bear from London has brought some exciting new ideas from overseas to revitalise the range of activities on offer for members.
Bastin moved to Sydney 15 years ago and started getting involved with HCB six years ago before putting his name forward to join the Committee.
This is the first time Bastin has been president of an organisation, although he has had previous experience with other GLBT organisations in both London and Sydney, including OutFM and the ACON Safe Place.
I like working in the community. You can see changes that affect people much faster than when you’re working in the corporate sector, Bastin, who is a business analyst by day, told Sydney Star Observer.
I’ve done quite a bit of travel overseas and around Europe and I saw some of the different types of events happening there. I thought it could be good to promote some similar types of events in Sydney, he explained.
I’m quite keen to get the club focused on more community events and working with other groups and not just for big parties.
I really want to connect the Bears with the rest of the gay and lesbian community. It isn’t like there’s a division, or like a wall between them, but it would be great to work a bit closer with Sydney Leather Pride and people like the Sydney Rangers and ACON, who we’ve been working with recently, where they provided party rovers free of charge and in return we’re going to have a fundraiser for them.
That’s the sort of thing I want to do more of… where we’re mutually looking after each other.
Widening HCB’s appeal is also on Bastin’s agenda as the organisation works to attract younger members.
We have a lot of people who turn up to the Flinders and a lot of young members, but I’ve worked out that some of those aren’t actually members of the Harbour City Bears. It would be great to get them on board as members and involved. I’ve got to work out why they’re not joining and come up with some different events or more free events to attract them.
Bastin’s ideas for exciting new events include staging a Bears film festival and hosting a Mr Bear Sydney pageant. There’s also a new Bears on Sunday event at the Flinders, starting on March 29. The function, a get-together over a sausage sizzle, will be geared towards a mature crowd.

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