Issue Details: First known date: 2014 2014
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‘The colonial journals committed themselves to publishing Australian poetry and fiction right from the beginning. Even journals with only an incidental interest in literature would publish at least the occasional Australian verse – partly because poetry could be so overtly declarative, able to give strident expression to the ideological imperatives that a journal stood for. H.M. Green described the first colonial Australian journal - Ralph Mansfield’s Australian Magazine; or Compendium of Religious, Literary, and Miscellaneous Intelligence – as follows: ‘most of its subjects have no connection with the colony, but there is an article on the platypus, and Australian subjects are sprinkled through the Religious and Miscellaneous sections. There are the usual negligible local verses…’ This last remark is interesting, because it suggests that colonial poetry – ‘negligible’ as it may sometimes be – is about the only thing that properly connects this early journal to its colonial context. We want to go against the grain of Green’s off-hand account by beginning this section with Barron Field’s ‘On Seeing the Bible Society’s Map of the World’, published in the Australian Magazine in September 1821. Arriving n New South Wales in 1817, Field went on to become a colonial magistrate, a founder of the Society for Promoting Christian knowledge among Aborigines, a supporter of public schooling, and the first president of the New South Wales Savings Bank. His First Fruits of Australian Poetry was published in 1819 by George Howe and reprinted (in expanded form) in 1823 by Robert Howe – the two proprietors of the Australian Magazine. Neither ‘negligible’ nor ‘local’, Field’s poem is in fact foundational, which is why we reproduce it here. It pays tribute to the global responsibilities of the British empire as it spreads its influence across its ‘dominions’, including Australia. But the emphasis is no longer on military conquest; rather, it is on the roles played by education and the Christian missions –which literature (‘Bookmen and penmen’) is now called upon to serve.’ (Authors introduction : 152)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y The Colonial Journals : And the Emergence of Australian Literary Culture Rachael Weaver , Ken Gelder , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2014 6855653 2014 multi chapter work criticism

    'Colonial Australia produced a vast number of journals and magazines that helped to create an exuberant literary landscape. They were filled with lively contributions by many of the key writers and provocateurs of the day - and of the future. Important Australian writers such as Marcus Clarke, Rolf Boldrewood, Ethel Turner and Katharine Susannah Prichard published for the first time in these journals. In The Colonial Journals, Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver present a fascinating selection of material: a miscellany of content that enabled the 'free play of intellect' to thrive and, matched with wry visual design, made attractive artifacts that demonstrate the role this period played in the growth of an Australian literary culture.' (Publication blurb)

    Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2014
    pg. 152-195
Last amended 26 Jun 2014 10:24:37
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