|"In Every Home: The Australian Women's Weekly (1933-1982)"|
The collection, representing a total of 2,569 issues and 232,000 pages, provides us with a unique insight into the interests of women, but also Australian society and culture at large with its ambition to be welcomed "in every Australian home from the outback to the industrial suburbs".
Prime Minister Gordon Menzies announced the beginning of Australia's involvement in the War in September 1939, and we see after this time a steady increase in less whimsical covers. The December 30, 1939, issue features a woman praying in church; a lone digger appears on a December 1940 cover; 'Women in the War Industries', reads the cover line from the Saturday 31 May, 1941, edition.
Launched by Sir Frank Packer, the first cover was black and white and featured four models alongside the headline, "What Smart Sydney Women Are Wearing." The front page also features a story titled, "Equal Social Rights For Sexes: Mrs. Littlejohn Outlines Big Issues To Be Fought For", which covered the Women Voter's Federation conference from the perspective of one Mrs. Linda P. Littlejohn, who outlines the main issues, including "(1) That all positions and all posts in the Commonwealth and States' Civil Services should be open to women as to men", for Weekly readers.
Elizabeth Taylor, cats, babies, koalas, kangaroos, Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog, Prince Phillip, Charles and Diana... the changing faces of The Weekly provide for a fascinating study in Australian history. We can only hope the ABC will be prompted to create a sequel to Paper Giants based on Ita Buttrose's experience of editing The Weekly in the 1980s.
"In Every Home: The Australian Women's Weekly (1933-1982)" opens at the National Library of Australia in Canberra today – a good reason to visit our nation's capital. You can view the full collection at Trove Australia.
Girl With a Satchel