Cover of the Australasian Post for 29 January 1953.
The Australasian Post, commonly called the Aussie Post, was Australia's longest-running weekly picture magazine.
History and profile
Its origins are traceable to Saturday 3 January 1857. This is the date of the first issue of the publication Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle (probably best known for Tom Wills's famous 1858 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. A Sydney version had been published since 1845.
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 much less sport content. As a result, the local papers Bell's Life in Victoria and Bell's Life in Sydney were gradually phased out of publication. On Saturday 4 January 1868 the last Melbourne issue appeared (no. 504); while the last Sydney issue (No. 731) came out on Saturday, 31 December 1870 (no. 731). 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 Post was read by millions at the height of its popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, 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 Australasian 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 cover girl became its downfall in the politically correct late 1980s and 1990s 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 was not 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
- Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860) at Trove
- Bell’s Life in Sydney, final issue Publication, 31 December 1870, at Trove
- 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.
- "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