Note: This object includes a derogatory depiction of a First Nations person and a derogatory slur. Such depictions are not condoned by Museums Victoria which considers them to be racist. Historical distance and context does not excuse or erase this fact.
Issue no. 50, 14 Apr 1923, of post-World War I publication 'Aussie', 'The Cheerful Monthly'. One of a collection of copies of 'Aussie' magazines in Museum Victoria's collection dated 5 June 1918 - 15 January 1929.
'Aussie' identity through language, humour and imagery. It distributed news, provided light-hearted ways of seeing the war experience and gave soldiers an outlet to express dissent or dissatisfaction. It also provided a voice for Australian authors such as Banjo Paterson, C.J. Dennis and Bernard O'Dowd. The magazine also frequently contained deeply racist and sexist imagery and references.
After the war, Phillip Harris produced a monthly in Sydney and renamed it 'Aussie: the Cheerful Monthly' from 1920. It built a sizeable circulation and for several years it published the major Australian writers and cartoonists of the day. It set out to sustain the digger culture and defend the rights of the veterans, while also embracing the re-adjustment of returned soldiers into civilian life.
'Aussie' magazines frequently portray cultural and racial groups in a derogatory way in order to amuse readers. Nicknames and terms of ridicule are used to describe a 'stereotypical' person of British, German, African American, First Peoples (Australia) or Chinese background. In addition an exaggerated accent from the targeted person or nationality comes across in the dialogue which accompanies many cartoons. For example, refer to a cartoon on page 19 of this issue by New Zealand cartoonist Noel Cook titled 'A Riot of Colour'. It depicts a riot amongst a range of men presented as different cultural stereotypes and is deeply racist. Cook also drew cartoons for 'Smith's Weekly' and the 'Bulletin' around this time.
Magazine consists of 50 double sided pages stapled at the spine. The measurements are 22cm width x 27.5cm height. The cover page is printed in colour on thick white paper. Inner pages are printed in black and white on thin brown paper. The front cover features the title printed across the top over a picture of the old 'Aussie' magazine 1918-1919. Every issue has a different cartoon on the front drawn by Australian artists with a caption at the bottom. The magazine is comprised of stories, illustrations, songs and poetry from the First World War.
This object provides an Australian soldiers' view of the political and world climate during the immediate post World War I period. It also represents the bond between Australian soldiers, and the ongoing role of the AIF in Europe after the war. The magazine celebrated a distinctive 'Aussie' identity, through language, humour and their assertion of what it meant to be an Australian. This could also extend to representations of various cultural groups in stereotypical, even racist ways. It allowed news to be distributed, gave the soldiers an outlet to express any dissent or dissatisfaction, thus preventing any greater form of rebellion and promoted Australian authors like Banjo Paterson, C.J. Dennis and Bernard O'Dowd. After the war, Phillip Harris produced a monthly in Sydney from 1920 and renamed it: 'Aussie: the Cheerful Monthly'. It built a sizeable circulation and for more than a decade it published the major Australian writers and cartoonists of the day. It set out to sustain the digger culture and defend the rights of the veterans, while also embracing the re-adjustment of returned soldiers into civilian life.
'I claim no credit for the success of Aussie. That belongs to the Diggers. Aussie was not a paper done for the Diggers, but by them. That's why it reflects their spirit.' - Phillip L. Harris, Editor, taken from 'The Story of Aussie'
Donation from Dr Field - Returned Services League of Australia (RSL), Jul 1982
Place & Date Published
Printed on cover: [Registered at the G.P.O., Sydney, for transmission by post as a Newspaper] / ANZAC DAY NUMBER / April 14, 1923 / Aussie The Cheerful Monthly / Price 8d. / G.K.Townshend / DIGGER'S UNIFORM GETS AN OUTING
Type of item
Amanda Laugesen, (2003) 'Aussie Magazine and the Making of Digger Culture during the Great War' National Library of Australia News (November), pp.15-18