Studies in Newspaper and Periodical History: 1995 Annual

By Michael Harris ; Tom O'Malley | Go to book overview

continued running until mid- 1896, by which time nearly all of its illustrations were halftones.

An era in Australian newspaper publishing was over. In the process, the pattern of factors influencing the success or failure of illustrated newspapers over the forty-three years of their publication had changed. By far the most important factor contributing to their demise was the introduction of the much faster and cheaper halftone process that rendered the monthly illustrated newspaper obsolete. In terms of competition, they had been usurped from within, for it was their weekly issue stablemates that had forced them out of production. Significantly, however, even the weeklies needed the capital backing of a parent daily. The targeted audience of the illustrated papers, notwithstanding the gold rush era, remained the same -- a predominantly urban-based, respectable middle class keen to have its belief in progress confirmed by its visual representation. Finally, in terms of consumer dynamics, in 1896 colonial Australia's 3.5 million population was served by a transport network, which relative to distribution, was both constantly expanding and getting faster, thus facilitating the growth of the weekly illustrated newspaper.


NOTES

*I would like to thank John Arnold and Dr. John Rickard for their support, encouragement and comments in writing this chapter.

1
G. Needham, 19th Century Realist Art ( New York: Harper and Row, 1988), p. 36.
2
P. Anderson, The Printed Image and the Transformation of Popular Culture, 1790-1860 ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), ch. 2.
3
E. Jussim, Visual Communication and the Graphic Arts: Photographic Technologies in the Nineteenth Century ( New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1983) (orig. pub. 1974), pp. 66-68, 161, describes the twelve-year period ( 1881- 1893) covering the development of the halftone process.
4
A-M. Willis, Picturing Australia: A History of Photography ( Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1988), pp. 10-11.
5
A distinction has been drawn between news-oriented illustrated newspapers like the Illustrated London News and humorous illustrated papers like Punch. Colonial illustrated humorous papers are not being discussed in this chapter.
6
Australians: Historical Statistics ( Sydney: Fairfax, Syme and Weldon Associates, 1987), pp. 26, 41, for all population figures unless otherwise indicated.
7
J. Kerr, ed., The Dictionary of Australian Artists: Painters, Sketchers, Photographers and Engravers to 1870 ( Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 147-49, 329.
8
Illustrated Journal of Australasia, 4/21 ( March 1858), p. 143.
9
Cassell's Illustrated Family Paper, the Illustrated Melbourne Family News and the Australian Home Companion were quarto-sized, the others were

-96-

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