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Sydney's Axe Throwing Joint Maniax Is Finally Opening in Melbourne Next Month

Say hello to your new favourite pastime.
By Tom Clift
February 22, 2018
By Tom Clift
February 22, 2018

How's this for a way to blow off steam at the end of a working week? Abbotsford will next month become Melbourne's official home of casual and competitive axe throwing, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Maniax is the brainchild of Stephen Thomas, who first came across the sport while living in Canada. "My wife and I used to go every week to watch the league," he told Concrete Playground back in June 2017. "Down this back alley in Toronto there's this small warehouse with a bunch of targets set up, and a fire burning out the front. Everyone was right into it, and it was a really cool atmosphere."

Upon returning to Australia, Thomas opened Maniax Sydney, and it soon proved to be a bit of a hit. "Think of it as an alternative to bowling or lawn bowls," he says. "We get birthday parties, hens parties, bucks parties, even family groups. Then midweek, we do corporate team building sessions. Google, Spotify, Australian Navy, Commonwealth Bank, IKEA, Qantas, you name it, they've been in."

For Maniax Melbourne, Thomas has secured a warehouse just east of Hoddle Street, around 100 metres from Collingwood Station. "We've got six dedicated throwing areas, so we can take six separate groups at a time," he says. "It's going to have a very rustic, very industrial feel with lots of iron and wood."

Thomas also plans to partner up with local bars and restaurants. "In Sydney we've got a guy called the Pig Baron who comes and sets up a pig on a spit," he explains. "Then afterwards we send them round to the local craft brewery for a few refreshing ales after the axe throwing."

When we remark that axes and alcohol should probably be kept separate, he laughs. "It's a good combination in the right order," he agrees. "Axe throwing first, then the beer afterwards. Always in that order."

Admittedly, not everyone has been as keen on the idea of axe throwing. Maniax had already been approved by the City of Yarra, but was then forced to go through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) after a member of the public lodged an appeal. Now, more than eight months after we first spoke to Thomas, the venue has the go-ahead and will open in the week commencing March 19.

So how does it work? You'll need a group of at least eight people to book an axe throwing area (at $50 a head). Then you'll have two hours to practice your aim and battle it out against your mates in an elimination comp.

Once it's up and running, Thomas has big plans, including league nights like the ones they've set up in Sydney. "We hope to eventually have a Melbourne champ and a Sydney champ and be able to fly the Melbourne champ up to Sydney or vice versa and have an Australian champion," he says enthusiastically. "And because we're actually part of the National Axe Throwing Federation in Canada, our league members qualify for the National Championships in Canada. I'd love more than anything to see us find an Aussie champ and then fly them over to Canada to compete."

Maniax is set to open at 21 Russell Street, Abbotsford on March 21. Bookings are now open at

Published on February 22, 2018 by Tom Clift
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