The first six years of the magazine known as the Bushman’s Bible, which ran from 1880 to 2008, have been digitised and made accessible by the National Library through Trove.
The Bulletin helped develop the careers of many of our greatest writers and illustrators, Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Dr Marie-Louise Ayres, said.
“With these first years of the magazine now available via Trove, a new generation of readers now have access to some of our finest literary content and illustrations – to say nothing of a laugh or two,” she said. “Banjo Paterson, CJ Dennis, Dorothea Mackellar, Steele Rudd, Katherine Susannah Pritchard were just some of the bylines that graced those early pages.”
The Bulletin was the magazine of early Australia. Founded by JF Archibald and John Haynes in 1880, the first magazines were a mix of political comment, news that was often not fit to print and literary content. It became a platform for young and aspiring writers.
It also came to the attention of the great, established writers, even gaining a mention in DH Lawrence’s 1923 novel, Kangaroo. “It [The Bulletin] beat no solemn drums. It had no deadly earnestness. It was just stoical and spitefully humourous.”
By 1961, when it was bought by Australian Consolidated Press, it shifted to a news magazine format under the editorship of Donald Horne.
Dr Ayres said the digitisation of the first six years was possible with the support of the State Library of NSW and the online research and publishing tool, AustLit. “Now, thanks to Federal Government assistance through its Modernisation Fund, we plan to digitise more issues of this quintessentially Australian magazine,” she said.
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