Cover of the Australasian Post for 29 January 1953.
Australasian Post, or "Aussie Post," was Australia's longest-running weekly picture magazine.
The origins of Australasian Post date back Saturday 3 January 1857 to the first volume of the publication Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle (probably best known for Tom Wills 1858 famous Australian rules football letter). The weekly publication was based on the format of Bell's Life in London and produced by Charles Frederic Somerton in Melbourne. The paper expanded to the Sydney market with "Bell's life in Sydney and sporting reviewer" (later sporting chronicle), first published on Saturday, 13 October 1860.
In 1864, the weekly newspaper The Australasian was launched to an Australian and New Zealand audience in a similar format to Bell's Life papers but with a much less focus on sport.
As a result, the local paper "Bell's Life in Victoria" and "Bell's Life in Sydney" were gradually phased out of publication and on Saturday 4 January 1868 the last issue (no. 504) and Saturday, 31 December 1870 (no. 731) respectively and the Australasian adopted locally based editions during the transition.
- Frederick William Haddon 1865 to 1866
- James Smith 1871 to 1872
- Harry Gullett 1872 to 1885
- David Watterston 1885 to 1903
The Australasian was read by millions at the height of its popularity in the 1960s and 70s, and features a uniquely Australian mix of scandal, sensationalism, human interest stories, fashion, politics, culture and entertainment. It was the staple of barber shops across the country.
On the coat tails of the sexual revolution in the late 1960s and 1970s, the magazine became more daring with their covers and content, often running stories focused on adultery, hedonism and nudity.
In 1982 then Sun News-Pictorial features editor Feyne Weaver was appointed Post editor. He immediately doubled the number of articles in the magazine and, while keeping the bikini-clad cover girl, got rid of all the "tit 'n bum" inside. The circulation rose to an all-time high, overtaking the then market leader People. Weaver resigned in mid-1984 to move to the United States.
Post's trademark bikini-clad covergirl became its downfall in the politically correct late 1980s and 90s and it suffered a rapid decline in popularity. The execution was stayed momentarily when knockabout Herald Sun columnist Graeme "Jacko" Johnstone took the helm, took the bikini girl off the cover, and focused on its knack for telling uniquely Australian stories. The magazine was renamed Aussie Post in 1997.
It wasn't enough and it closed its doors on 2 February 2002. At the time of its last edition, it was the longest-running continuously published magazine in Australia.
- National Archives of Australia
- Woods, Carole. "Haddon, Frederick William (1839–1906)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- Jordens, Ann-Mari (1976). "Smith, James (1820–1910)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- Hawker, G. N. "Gullett, Henry (Harry) (1837–1914)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- Hurst, John. "Watterston, David (1845–1931)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- Murphy, Wayne Lawrence & Murdoch University. School of Humanities. Master of Arts in Literature and Communication Programme (1990). In Reading Post a study of the general interest magazine, Australasian Post. Murdoch University, Murdoch, W.A
- Maynard, Ken (1978). In Ken Maynard cartoons : a nostalgic look back on Ken's cartoons as appearing in 'Australasian post'. K. Maynard, Palm Beach, Qld
- Maynard, Ken & Northover, Robin (1990). In Tales from the Ettamogah Pub : Australasian post. Southdown Press, Melbourne