The Australian Journal: Creating a Colonial "Place" in a Global Context
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Periodicals were the lifeblood of communication in the colonies. They not only published the essential economic and political information that oiled the wheels of commercial enterprise, they provided a backdrop to the narratives of colonial life. Periodicals were reactive, encouraging readers to engage with them in discussion of both important and trivial day to day issues. This paper will focus on the turbulent early years of the Australian Journal, a periodical miscellany which was first published in Melbourne in 1865. It attempted to create a sense of place and colonial community. From its first issue it aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and to this end it published writing from the major Australian colonies and from New Zealand. The work of contributors such as Mary Fortune was significant in this development of a distinctive colonial voice. The editors made it clear that the periodical’s aim was to develop separate and distinct colonial narratives yet remain part of an international context; a balancing act with a curiously modern resonance.
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