Bears Perth Inc. (formerly West Oz Marsupial Bears And Their Supporters – WOMBATS Inc.) has been running since 1993. WOMBATS was a social group for bearded and / or hairy men who share the same sexual orientation as the men who seek them out.
The idea of a bearded men’s gay group was formed in early 1993 when a number of people contacted Bob Hay in Sydney regarding Oz Bears. He was the catalyst that brought the founding members together. Initially Bob had Graham Harris make telephone contact with Kevin Knighton.
As there was nothing in Perth, Kevin Knighton opened a post office Box in Bassendean in June 1993 with the expressed intent that it be used for mail for a bearded men’s group. Once Bob Hay was informed of this, Kevin received calls from Ken Beer and John Davies who also were interested in forming a group.
The initial meeting of John , Ken and Kevin took place in the Northbridge Hotel. They were joined by Dave Rindos and a couple of others.
Numerous advertisements were placed in personal columns of local papers and as the response was encouraging, it was decided to go ahead with a picnic at the Pinjar Pine Plantation near Wanneroo, a northern suburb of Perth. The event took place on 19 September 1993.
From there a caretaker group was formed. The care taker group consisted of Ken acting in the roll of President and Kevin as the acting secretary treasurer. It was Ken and Kevin who looked after the group’s fortunes organising social functions until a general meeting was called in April 1994 and a more organised structure took place, though the social group was still an unincorporated body.
A structure of President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer and committee was brought into place. Ken was the inaugural President and Kevin was the secretary/treasurer.
Incorporation took place in on 17 July 1997, though the intention to during April did not go unnoticed in the business section of the paper, since a notice was placed under the column “Herd on the Terrace” “WOMBATS take root” was printed.
In February 1999, a general meeting was held to vote on a name change and West Oz Marsupial Bears and their Supporters ceased to exist and Bears Perth came into being.