Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Splendid New Woman's Paper

The National Library of Australia has kindly digitised and made available online the first 50 years of the Australian Women's Weekly magazine, from the first issue on 10 June 1933, to 15 December 1982 when the magazine changed to a monthly.

In the first issue, the cover of which is shown above, they set out the aims and ideals of the new magazine:
"Australian women meet in this first issue of The Australian Women's Weekly a brilliantly conceived journal dedicated completely to their interests.

The ideals behind The Australian Women's Weekly, which will give a degree of service and interest to Australian women never yet paralleled in this country, are these:--

(1) To cover adequately and in full detail every field of work, play, or interest for women - especially where women have something at stake.

(2) To create interests for women

3) To interpret local and foreign events from the point of view of women

(4) To be of practical help, by service and guidance, to women in domestic, social, and business life. Women will be helped with home worries, personal worries, social and dress difficulties. They will be told where to find such help as cannot be given through a newspaper

(5)To be of interest and fascination to all women. It will be full of news - women's news. It will be full of features - real women's features. Dress, health, sport, hobbies, decoration, cooking, every field where women are and where their eyes turn, will be covered for them by brilliant specialists who understand their work. There will be free patterns from the world's best designers in line with as well as in anticipation of, every fashion. Each week it will contain the cream of the world's fiction by highly-paid authors, and special feature articles by men and women of distinction

(6) To be a treasure-store to which every woman, stay-at-home, gad-about, intellectual, or just nice-average, will turn for everything she wants.

Australian women and their interests have never been given the attention that has become a tradition with brilliant overseas journals. The Australian Women's Weekly will have equal breadth of scope, outlook, and imaginative appeal to these carefully planned productions."

Fine sentiments indeed! The first issue contained articles about social rights for women, the decline in the standards of taxis in Sydney, careers for women, housewives protesting about the price of butter, and the question of whether it is proper to indulge in dancing and card games if the funds raised are for the church. There is also short fiction, the latest films and fashion, as well as recipes and an advice column.

Look at these gorgeous line drawings for the latest fashions from Paris! On the left is a grey pinstriped coat with toggle fastenings and matching skirt from Schiaparelli; in the middle is a beige cape and skirt with a beige and brown printed blouse, and a belt made from wooden beads; on the right, a cardigan suit of navy Angora wool with a scarf, hat and gloves of a rough navy silk printed with white spots.

I love these very Art Deco style drawing for accessories, look at that wonderful slender hand!

The magazines are a complete treasure-trove of articles, advice, and advertisments. I will of course be picking out my favourite fashion illustrations and beauty advice from the 30s, 40s and 50s for your reading pleasure, but do go to Trove and have a look for yourself.

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