International History of Magazines 6: Australia and New Zealand

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

The small populations of Australia and New Zealand in the nineteenth century meant that there were few market possibilities for magazines until the 1870s. There were certainly magazines before this, but most were shortlived and unsuccessful, notable exceptions being the Melbourne-based Australian Journal (1865-1962), a popular fiction weekly modelled on (and often sharing material with) Britain’s London Journal (1845-1928), and the Brisbane-based Queenslander (1866 – 1939), the entertainment weekly supplement to the Brisbane Courier (1846-).

A decent body of research has been done on the Australian little magazine, a genre that was introduced by Vision in 1923. Despite the fame of some amongst the cognoscenti, until the 1970s the genre never had much success.

Increasing amounts of work are being done on consumer magazines but despite a plethora of article-length studies and volumes on single magazine titles, Greenop remains the only full-length study of the history of Australian magazines as a whole. Day (q.v.) has covered the development of the early newspaper in New Zealand but so far there is no book-length study of the history of the New Zealand magazine.

OVERVIEWS

Bennet, Bruce. 1981. Cross Currents. Magazines and Newspapers in Australian Literature. Melbourne: Longman Cheshire.

The 16 essays (plus one diary extract), mainly by non-academic participants in the area, offer interesting perspectives on individual little magazines (the one exception concerns book reviews in newspapers).

Day, Patrick. 1990. The Making of the New Zealand Press. A Study of the Organizational and Political Concerns of New Zealand Newspaper Controllers. Victoria: Victorian University Press.

While magazines are not mentioned here at all, this volume is included in the bibliography for being one of the very few studies of New Zealand press history. Its account of the organizational difficulties settlers faced is illuminating and in many cases will be applicable to magazine production as well.

Edmonds, Phillip. 2015. Tilting at Windmills. The Literary Magazine in Australia, 1968-2012. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press.

Theoretically informed and well-written account of the little magazine in Australia at a time when it flourished. Brings the work of Tregenza (q.v.) up to date.

Greenop, Frank.  1947. History of Magazine Publishing in Australia. Sydney:  K. G. Murray Publishing Co.

Still the only book-length history of American magazines, this was written by an insider, the magazine editor-in-chief of the publisher who brought out the book. It is organised chronologically and has good descriptions of individual magazines within the text. The index helpfully lists the magazines mentioned.

Tregenza, John. 1964. Australian Little Magazines 1923-1954: Their Role in Forming and Reflecting Literary Trends. Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia.

A slim volume covering 48 little magazines, including the best known, Max Harris’s surrealist Angry Penguins. There is a handy descriptive bibliography of little magazines listing authors, dates, frequency, price and publishers, but most of the text  comprises a discursive history of the magazines.

DATABASES

AustLit   http://www.austlit.edu.au/

This subscription-only database  aims to be the central research tool for all matters related to Australian literature in the widest sense, including magazine history. It is not full text but links out to other archives that are (Trove, q.v.).  Oriented towards content rather than runs of magazines, there is a research project focussing on newspapers and magazines (see  http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/5960612)

Australian Magazines of the Twentieth Century  http://www.austlit.edu.au/specialistDatasets/BookHistory/AustMag

A subscription service giving full-text searchable access to around 100 Australian magazines and newspapers mainly from the twentieth century from The Booklover (1914-18) and Meanjin (1940-) to the Australian Woman’s Mirror (1924-61).

Australian Periodical Publications 1840-1845 http://www.nla.gov.au/ferg/

A clunky site created in the 1990s that allows PDF downloads of individual articles from periodical titles. Full-text searches are possible of only one of the journals, the Colonial Literary Journal and Weekly Miscellany of Useful Information. It has largely been superseded by Trove.

Index New Zealand http://innz.natlib.govt.nz/webvoy.htm

This is a searchable database of abstracts and descriptions of articles from 1000 New Zealand magazines and newspapers from the early twentieth century onwards. It is content-oriented and it is difficult to trace complete runs of magazines, but can be useful when its limitations are acknowledged.

Papers Past. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast

An excellent and easy to use open-access database of 120 newspapers and magazines from 1839 to 1948. 18 Maori publications are included, including some religious magazines.

Trove.  http://trove.nla.gov.au/

An exceptionally well designed open-access database easily searchable through a single interface. Although the subsite Trove Digitised Newspapers and More (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper) highlights newspapers in its title, it in fact allows full text searching of a large number of magazines as well.

Published by

Andrew King

Andrew King is Professor of English Literature and Literary Studies at the University of Greenwich. He has always been interested in how and why certain texts are kept for posterity and others disappear. His first degree was in classical and medieval Latin, and he has MAs in Medieval Studies and English. He completed his PhD in English at Birkbeck, supervised by Laurel Brake. He taught for many years at Universities overseas, though immediately before he came to Greenwich in May 2012, taught at Canterbury Christ Church University. His official profile can be found at http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/schools/humanities/about/departments/cca/staff/andrew-king.

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