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Walkabout magazine

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Walkabout magazine

Walkabout was an [1].

History

Ostensibly and initially a travel magazine, Walkabout was published by the Australian National Travel Association (ANTA, formed in 1929).[3] The income they derived from its sale provided for the Association's other activities in promoting tourism, 'to place Australia on the world's travel map and keep it there.'[4] It was assertively Australian, aiming to help 'Australians and the people of other lands [...] learn more of the vast Australian continent and its nearby islands,' and came to resemble the popular magazines that were to appear after World War II, and like the United States' National Geographic Magazine.

From August 1946, Walkabout also doubled as the official journal of the newly formed Australian Geographical Society (AGS), founded with a five thousand pound grant from ANTA, its banner subscript reading ‘Journal of the Australian Geographical Society’. This role is now filled by Australian Geographic magazine. Later it became ‘Australia’s Way of Life Magazine’ when supported by the Australian National Publicity Association and later the Australian National Travel Association.

Modern dynamic layouts and more lively captioning under the editorship (1960-1968) of Brian McArdle (1920-1968) saw a brief increase in circulation due to more liberal, human-interest and cultural content, emulating the American Life magazine (1936-1972) and the French Réalités (1946-1979). In accounting for its demise, Max Quanchi writes '...it finally struggled against mass circulation weekly and lifestyle magazines in the early 1970s...'. In fact, Walkabout outlived Life by two years, which also succumbed to increasing publication costs, decreasing subscriptions, and to competition from other media and newspaper supplements.

In the 1960s the magazine spawned a number of book-length illustrated anthologies[5][6][7][8]

Contributors

Writers included some of Australia's most significant authors, novelists, journalists and commentators:

Photojournalism

Walkabout was an early outlet for, and promoter of, Australian photojournalism. Stories were liberally illustrated each with up to fifteen quarter-, half- and full-page photographs in black and white, and from the 1960s, sepia and colour photographs. (Walkabout also sponsored a national artistic and aesthetic photography competition in 1957 with a One Hundred Pound first prize). The original photography segment was later called “Our Cameraman’s Walkabout”, “Australia and the South Pacific in Pictures” (briefly including New Zealand in the title), “Australia in Pictures”, “Camera Supplement” and after 1961, “Australian Scene”. It began with as many as 23 photographs spread over 6-8 pages, but dropped to 6-10 photographs in the 1960s. The segment was often devoted to a single topic and in the 1960s to single-topic double-page spreads.

Significant Australian photographers included in its pages were (Photographs from Walkabout are indexed online at the National Library of Australia )

Representation of indigenous Australians

Walkabout’s early to mid-century stance on depiction of Indigenous Australians was generally conservative, romantic and stereotyped,

By the sixties outrage in the Australian community at the injustice of apartheid in South Africa and consciousness of the international civil rights movements changed attitudes [13] to the indigenous population. Articles from this period more even-handedly acknowledged the colonial massacres [14] alongside more sympathetic, though still somewhat patronising stories on the remote desert tribes,[15] and more in-depth and academic discussion of the complex issues of alcohol and indigenous employment appeared.[16]

Notes

References

  • Bolton, A. T. (ed.) WALKABOUT'S Australia : an anthology of articles and photographs from Walkabout magazine. Sydney: Ure Smith, 1964 ISBN T000019430
  • McGuire, M. E. (1993), ‘Whiteman’s walkabout’, Meanjin, [52:3]:517-525.
  • Quanchi, Max (2004) Contrary images; photographing the new Pacific in Walkabout magazine. Journal of Australian Studies (79):73-88
  • Rolls, Mitchell (2009): Picture imperfect: re-reading imagery of Aborigines in Walkabout, Journal of Australian Studies, (33:1): 19-35
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