Chance Magazine

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Chance was a men's monthly magazine founded in Sydney in 1966 by Gareth Powell Associates, which was basically Gareth Powell in association with Jack de Lissa. It used Playboy and Penthouse magazines as a model, creating a magazine that Australia had not seen before with both pictures of beautiful unclothed ladies and articles worth reading. The magazine was originally printed in Australia with the Griffin Press in Adelaide but almost immediately switched to Hong Kong as high quality printing at an affordable price was not then available in Australia.

In 1968, the Australian customs seized an issue of Chance at the wharf as it was being imported from Hong Kong on grounds that it was generally obscene and the point was made that it was published without permission, that is, the Customs had not been given a copy to approve before printing. One feature that annoyed and puzzled them was a cartoon strip called Barbarella, later made into a film starring Jane Fonda. The judge in the Equity Court in an early hearing ruled against Gareth Powell, and said in his summing up: 'I am not sure what Barbarella was about but I suspect lesbianism.' He ordered that issue of the magazine to be destroyed.

The dispute was a landmark case. An agreement had been reached, without consulting the plaintiff, that Customs officers would not have to give evidence. If this had not been the case and the customs officers had been made to give evidence, they would have been forced to either commit perjury or accept the magazine was not in breach of community standards. This resulted in the Australian customs, in effect, ceasing to take a moral view on the content of printed matter entering the country.

In the early 1970s, Gareth Powell sold Chance, and other magazines he published including POL magazine, and moved his operations to Hong Kong.

The magazine published works by some of Australia's best young photographers and was in many ways a breakthrough publication for Australia in terms of printing quality, photography and design.

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