Farrago (magazine)

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Farrago 2016 Issue 8.jpg
Farrago, Issue 8 2016, front cover.
Type Student publication
Format Magazine
Owner(s) University of Melbourne Student Union
Editor Ashleigh Barraclough, Esther Le Couteur, Jesse Paris-Jourdan, Monique O'Rafferty
Founded 1925 (1925)
Language English
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia
Website www.farragomagazine.com

Farrago, published by the Melbourne University Student Union, is Australia's oldest student publication.[1] It was first published on 3 April 1925.[2]


The term "farrago", from Latin, meaning 'mixed cattle fodder',[3] means a confused variety of miscellaneous things. It has been used e.g. by Edward Tylor in his Primitive Culture.[4] The name is included in the motto (drawn originally from the Satires of Juvenal) Quidquid agunt homines nostri farrago libelli est — "whatever men do forms the motley subject of our page" which was written on the first issue of the famous eighteenth-century periodical Tatler.


The publication was founded in 1925 by Randal Heymanson, who was the first editor,[5] and Brian Fitzpatrick, who was the first chief of staff.[6][7]

For a number of years, Farrago was published in a newspaper or broadsheet format.[8] In the 2000s, Farrago switched to a magazine format, which it continues to use today.[9]


Up to four editors are elected annually and hold the shared title of Media Officer in the University of Melbourne Student Union, with the Union Secretary being the legally defined publisher. The editorship has been highly politicised in the past, and election campaigns are vigorous. Archives of Farrago are available at the Student Union's Rowden White Library and in the basement of the Baillieu Library on campus.

Noteworthy editors in the past have included Cyril Pearl, Geoffrey Blainey, Amira Gust, Claude Forrell, Ian Robinson, Morag Fraser, Henry Rosenbloom, Garrie Hutchinson, Ross McPherson, Colin Golvan, Lindsay Tanner, Peter Russo, Louise Carbines, Jim Brumby, Pete Steedman, Arnold Zable, Kate Legge, Nicola Gobbo, Cathy Bale, Christos Tsiolkas in 1987, and Nam Le in 1999.[10]

Voluntary student unionism[edit]

The implementation of voluntary student unionism in 2006 had a significant impact on the viability of student publications across Australia, compulsory student union membership fees having been the major source of income for most. "Christos Tsiolkas was editor in 1987, and he had a budget of $280,000; we have a budget of $58,000, and $55,000 of that will go on printing. We're quite lucky, we're a well-funded institution, and the University has provided transitional funding", said Farrago editor for 2009.[11]

Aims and content[edit]

Farrago is a magazine whose content is written entirely by students, which aims to be a voice, creative outlet and source of information for those who attend the University of Melbourne - irrespective of age, course and interests. Farrago encourages contributions from students in both written and/or illustrated forms, because without these it would not be an accurate representation of students at the university.

Farrago contains the following sections: Campus, Commentary, Creative. It previously contained a Science section, which was discontinued in recent years. Farrago also features regular columns from several student writers.[12]

Current and past editors[edit]

Year Name Ticket
1925 Randal Hermanson Unknown
Brian Fitzpatrick (Chief of Staff)
1987[13] Christos Tsiolkas Unknown
2005[14] Clare Chandler Independent Media
Zoe Holman
Tom Rigby
Jim Round
2008[15] Zoë Barron Independent Media
Simon Lilburn
Hagan Matthews
Benjamin Riley
2009[16] Gillian Kilby Independent Media
Bhakthi Puvanenthiran
Zoe Sanders
Yoshua Wakeham
2010[17] Rachel Baxendale Independent Media
Sarah Laing
Ellena Savage
Lucas Smith
2011[18] Tim Forster Independent Media
Erin Handley
Geir O'Rourke.
Elizabeth Redman
2012[19] Max Denton Independent Media
Ella Dyson
Vicky Smith
Scott Whinfeld
2013[20] Emma Koehn Independent Media
Sarah McColl
Meg Watson
Sally Whyte
2014[21] Zoe Efron Independent Media
Kevin Hawkins
Michelle See-Tho
Sean Watson
2015[22] Maddy Cleeve Gerkens Independent Media
Marty Dittman
Lynley Eavis
Simon Farley
2016[23] Danielle Bagnato Independent Media
Sebastian Dodds
Baya Ou Yang
Caleb Triscari
2017[24] Alexandra Alvaro Independent Media
Amie Green
Mary Ntalianis
James Macaronas
2018 [25] Ashleigh Barraclough Independent Media
Esther Le Couteur
Monique O'Rafferty
Jesse Paris-Jourdan

The Fitzpatrick Awards[edit]

Every year, the Media Office holds the Fitzpatrick Awards ceremony, colloquially referred to as the "Fitzpatricks," to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work of the contributors and volunteers. The first annual Fitzpatrick Awards were held in 2009 at Dante's Emporium and Cafe in Fitzroy.[26] The ceremony is named after the publication's first chief of staff, Brian Fitzpatrick.

Related Projects[edit]

Each year, the editors of Farrago also oversee several other related departments and projects.

Above Water[edit]

Above Water is the annual creative writing anthology, published in coordination with the University of Melbourne Student Union's Creative Arts department.[27] It publishes a variety of creative forms, including fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction.[28] The first edition was published in 2005.[29]

Unlike Farrago, Above Water is a competition, with cash prizes for the winning written entry and the winning cover artist.[30]

In 2017, the publication received almost 300 submissions.[31] From those initial submissions,17 written pieces were selected for publication in 2017.

Radio Fodder[edit]

Radio Fodder is the University of Melbourne Student Union's student radio station, managed by editors of Farrago.[32] The name originated from a discontinued section of Farrago titled "The Fodder."[33]

Farrago Student Union Election Guide[edit]

According to the University of Melbourne Student Union's constitution, the Media Office is required to print a student union election guide containing the names and statements of all students running in the upcoming student union elections for that year.[34]

In most previous years, the election guide has been included as a section in the edition of Farrago that lines up closest to the election timeline for that year, sometimes appearing as a perforated, removable booklet.[35] In 2017, the editors opted to print the guide as a separate booklet entirely, which was then slipped into editions of Farrago on stands around the University of Melbourne campus.[36]

The election guide is considered a somewhat frustrating constitutional obligation for the editors, as demonstrated by the tongue-in-cheek memo on the front cover of the 2016 election guide, which reads "we see you're thinking of skipping this section. You motherfucker. Do you know how long we worked on this fucking guide you inconsiderate ingrate – it's 9:30pm on a Thursday and we are eating cold pizza, chilli popcorn and malteasers for dinner because we wanted to make this a good read for you. I can't believe you would betray democracy like this after everything we've been through. Don't you think about moving onto the next section, we know we have great articles but this is fucking important so read👏 the👏 god👏 damn👏 guide."[37]


Farrago has gained a significant amount of controversy over the years. In particular, despite the magazine's commitment to providing a voice to a diverse range of contributors regardless of political persuasion, it has frequently been seen as veering well to the political left. For example, Zoe Efron, one of 2014's Farrago editors, noted that a 1974 editon of Farrago contained both a left wing-slanted anti-smoking article and an ad for the then-Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam on the cover. She also noted that political bias and overt partisanship was still visible more recently, with a late 2013 edition of Farrago having a cover illustration of Tony Abbott and the caption "WE'RE FUCKED" underneath.[38] in 1992 Pennsylvania State University student James Panichi labelled Farrago as "leftist crap ... the product of politically opinionated hippies" in an article forThe Daily Collegian.[39]


  1. ^ nikakisz (18 March 2009). "A bit of a Farrago". Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  2. ^ National Library of Australia. "Farrago / Melbourne University". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  3. ^ "?".
  4. ^ E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Theories of primitive religion. Oxford 1966:22.
  5. ^ Humphries, Michael E. (2007). "Heymanson, Sir Sydney Henry (Randal) (1903–1984)". Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  6. ^ Serle, Geoffrey (1996). "Fitzpatrick, Brian Charles (1905–1965)". Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  7. ^ Selleck, Richard Joseph Wheeler (223). The Shop: The University of Melbourne, 1850-1939. Melbourne University Publishing. p. 662.
  8. ^ "Newspaper - Farrago, 4 Apr 1951". Museums Victoria Collections. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  9. ^ "Farrago Edition 2 2012". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  10. ^ Marc McEvoy (16 May 2009). "A brilliant way with words". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  11. ^ nikakisz (18 March 2009). "A bit of a Farrago". Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  12. ^ http://farragomagazine.com
  13. ^ "MUSSE » A bit of a Farrago". 8 October 2009. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Farrago » 2005 Edition 1 Editorial". farragomagazine.com. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  15. ^ "Report of the Returning Officer" (PDF). p. 18. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  16. ^ "MUSSE » A bit of a Farrago". 8 October 2009. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  17. ^ "UMSU Annual Election 2009" (PDF). p. 19. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  18. ^ "University of Melbourne Student Union 2011 ANNUAL ELECTIONS 5 – 9 SEPTEMBER 2011 Report of the Returning Officer" (PDF). p. 10. Retrieved 2 October 2017. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  19. ^ "Edition 4". Farrago Magazine. 2012 – via Issuu.
  20. ^ "UMSU Annual Election 2012" (PDF). p. 19. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  21. ^ "UMSU Final Election Report" (PDF). 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2017. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  22. ^ "Edition Seven". Farrago Magazine: 6. 2015 – via Issuu.
  23. ^ "Edition 1". Farrago Magazine: 4. 2016 – via issuu.
  24. ^ "Edition 1". Farrago Magazine. 2017.
  25. ^ "Vote [1] Independent Media". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  26. ^ "MU Student Union Online - Farrago - 2009 Inaugural Fitzpatrick Awards—The Results". 5 April 2010. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  27. ^ "Above Water 2017". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  28. ^ "Above Water 2017". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  29. ^ "Above Water 2017". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  30. ^ "Above Water". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  31. ^ "Above Water". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  32. ^ "Radio Fodder – University of Melbourne Student Radio". radiofodder.com. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  33. ^ "Farrago Edition 4 2012". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  34. ^ "The Student Union Election Guide". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  35. ^ "The Student Union Election Guide". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  36. ^ "2017-18 UMSU Election Guide". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  37. ^ "The Student Union Election Guide". issuu. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  38. ^ https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/editorial-edition-one/
  39. ^ Panichi, James. "Collegian's content reflects a conservative readership". The Daily Collegian. Retrieved 2017-10-21.