|Owner(s)||University of Western Australia Student Guild|
|Editor-in-chief||Zoe Kilbourn and Wade McCagh|
|Website||UWA Guild publications|
Pelican is the University of Western Australia's official student magazine. It is financed by the UWA Guild, but maintains complete editorial independence. 5000 copies of each issue are published and distributed across metropolitan Perth, as well as to Notre Dame, Murdoch, Curtin, ECU, and Central TAFE. It is Australia's second oldest student paper, having begun publication in 1929.
Pelican is published 8 times a year, roughly coinciding with each month of semester at the University of Western Australia. Easily distinguishable by its square tabloid format and professional design, Pelican has a readership of around 10,000 per edition and is aimed at Perth's tertiary students and young people aged between 17 and 27 frequenting the inner metropolitan area. Each edition is centred on a theme and includes regular reviews (books, music, television, film, and arts), opinion pieces, campus events listing, and current affairs analysis.
Typically, each edition of Pelican circulates around a particular theme. These can be a range of diverse topics such as "Ammunition", "Class", "Superstition", "The Future", "Patriotism", and "Sex". Each Pelican also includes articles that deal more broadly with politics, popular culture, and aspects of the student lifestyle. Pelican also includes coverage of music, books, film, television, and the arts. These are ordered within individual sub-sections, each of which is coordinated by a different section editor. Previous editions of Pelican were produced as a broadsheet, until Beth Shaw established the tabloid format. These broadsheet editions were much more loosely themed with a preference for several-thousand word articles and essays and a condensed review section.
Founded in 1929, Pelican lays claim to being the country's second-oldest student newspaper, after Farrago. Originally, Pelican took the form of a weekly current affairs broadsheet. It then evolved into a monthly newspaper, and was later transformed into a "tabloid" sized magazine by editor Elizabeth Shaw. In 2007, Magda Wozniak introduced a glossy cover which continued throughout 2008 as well as the first edition of 2009. Due to the 2009 recession, Pelican has been forced to revert to a newspaper print cover.
It has become an ongoing tradition that the Pelican editor appears naked on the front cover of the final edition, although it is unknown when this tradition began. Research by former Pelican editor Henry F. Skerritt, published in his final editorial of 2000, suggests that this tradition began in 1972.
In late 2007, in the lead up to the federal election of that year, UWA student and Australian Labor Party candidate for the seat of O'Connor, Dominic Rose, was caught up in a national controversy over an article published in Pelican. It was revealed that some time before his preselection, the student had written a piece in which he referred to then Labor Party leader and Prime Ministerial hopeful Kevin Rudd as a "filthy Liberal". The story was carried nationally and appeared in major publications, including The Age, news.com.au, The Herald Sun, and the national broadsheet The Australian.
Voluntary student unionism
The implementation of voluntary student unionism in 2006 had a significant impact on the viability of student newspapers across Australia, compulsory student union membership fees having been the major source of income for most. Pelican is one of the few Australian papers to have not been affected by these changes, and this can be largely attributed to the high voluntary membership intake of the University of Western Australia Student Guild.
1954-1955 Neville Nankivell (when it was in newspaper format) 1996: Matt Buckels
1997: Neil Wurmel
1998: Rob Schutze
1999: Kirstyn Lee
2000: Gawain C.W. Davies and Henry F. Skerritt
2001: Paul Kilmurray and Cliodnha Quigley
2002: Gabrielle Holly
2003: Sara Fonck
2004: Brisa Rojas
2005: Elizabeth Shaw
2006: Laura Miller
2007: Magda Wozniak
2008: Ben Johnston
2009: Thomas Reynolds
2010: Kaitlyn Plyley and Andrew Portelli
2011: Patrick Marlborough and Koko Wozniak
2012: Josh Chiat
2013: Marnie Allen and Alex Griffin
2014: Zoe Kilbourn and Wade McCagh
- Pelican Magazine, volume 71, edition 8, October 2000, p.5.