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15° & CLOUDY ON SUNDAY 20 JANUARY IN MELBOURNE
By Tom Clift
June 22, 2017
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Sydney's Axe Throwing Joint Maniax Is Coming to Melbourne

Say hello to your new favourite pastime.
By Tom Clift
June 22, 2017
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How's this for a way to blow off steam at the end of a working week: Abbotsford is about to 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 tells Concrete Playground. "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 is as keen on the idea of axe throwing as Thomas is. Maniax has already been approved by the City of Yarra, but is facing a battle at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) after a member of the public lodged an appeal. Still, Thomas is confident that the decision will go in their favour, and hopes to be open for business by late October.

Once they are 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."

To stay up to date on Maniax Melbourne's progress, visit www.maniax.com.au/melbourne.

Published on June 22, 2017 by Tom Clift

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