Australasian Post

Australasian Post

Australasian Post, or "Aussie Post," was Australia's longest-running weekly picture magazine.

The origins of Australasian Post date back Saturday January 3rd 1857 [National Archives of Australia] to the first volume of the publication Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle (probably best known for Tom Wills 1858 famous Australian rules football letter). The weekly publication was based on the format of Bell's Life in London and produced by Charles Frederic Somerton in Melbourne. The paper expanded to the Sydney market with "Bell's life in Sydney and sporting reviewer" (later sporting chronicle), first published in Saturday, Oct. 13, 1860.

In 1864, the weekly newspaper The Australasian was launched to an Australian and New Zealand audience in a similar format to Bell's Life papers but with a much less focus on sport.

As a result, the local paper "Bell's Life in Victoria" and "Bell's Life in Sydney" were gradually phased out of publication and on Saturday January 4th, 1868 the last issue (no. 504) and Saturday, Dec. 31, 1870 (no. 731) respectively and the Australasian adopted locally based editions during the transition.

The Australasian was read by millions at the height of its popularity in the 60s and 70s, and features a uniquely Australian mix of scandal, sensationalism, human interest stories, fashion, politics, culture and entertainment. It was the staple of barber shops across the country.

One of its best features is its focus on Australiana, with pages of jokes and cartoons, including the Ettamogah Pub series by cartoonist Ken Maynard.

On the coat tails of the sexual revolution in the late 60s and 70s, the magazine became more daring with their covers and content, often running stories focused on adultery, hedonism and nudity.

In 1982 then Sun News-Pictorial features editor Feyne Weaver was appointed Post editor. He immediately doubled the number of articles in the magazine and, while keeping the bikini-clad cover girl, got rid of all the "tit 'n bum" inside. The circulation rose to an all-time high, overtaking the then market leader People magazine. Weaver resigned in mid-1984 to go and live in the US.

Post's trademark bikini-clad covergirl became its downfall in the politically-correct late 1980s and 90s and it suffered a rapid decline in popularity. The execution was stayed momentarily when knockabout Herald-Sun columnist Graeme "Jacko" Johnstone took the helm, took the bikini girl off the cover, and focused on its knack for telling uniquely Australian stories.

It wasn't enough and it closed its doors on February 2, 2002. At the time of its last edition, it was the longest-running continuously-published magazine in Australia.


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