The general-interest Australasian Post magazine began as the Australasian in 1864, published by the Argus and Australasian Limited. By the mid-1940s, the weekly had established its blend of consumerism, civic mindedness, cultural enrichment and some popular diversion. Returning war correspondent George Johnston was appointed editor to revamp its format and modernise its content. The first issue as Australasian Post was published in April 1946; Johnston’s editorship lasted only 15 weeks.
For the next 10 years, Post’s identity wavered between its middlebrow civic antecedents and a celebratory, pictorial Australiana, later infused with heterosexual voyeurism. Post survived the closure of the Argus in 1957 and sustained its niche as a barbershop magazine with the Herald and Weekly Times (1957–87), and then later with News Limited and Pacific Magazines.
From the mid-1950s, Post’s ubiquitous swimwear covers enclosed tabloid picture stories on sharks, car crashes, cancer, sex changes, street prostitution, polygamy, film stars, local eccentrics, legendary outlaws, the occult and UFOs. Although serious pieces from such writers as Ian Turner, Frank Hardy and Alan Marshall were occasionally published, by the mid-1960s crosswords, punning colloquial humour and conversational opinion columns were standard fare. Aligned with its defining theme of knock- about Australiana, Post’s most enduring feature was Ken Maynard’s Ettamogah Pub cartoon, originally appearing as ‘Ned and his Neddy’ in the late 1950s.
Post changed its name to Aussie Post in 1997 and tried to broaden its diminishing appeal by scaling back swimsuit shots and including more family-oriented content and school project materials. When the magazine continued to lose readership, Pacific Magazines (in partnership with the Seven Group from 2001) decided to suspend publication in January 2002. Under its various guises, Australasian Post had been Australia’s longest-running general interest weekly.
REF: W.L. Murphy and M. Mitropoulos, ‘The Last Post? Tracking the Australasian to Aussie Post, 1864– 2002’, Australian Journalism Review, 24(2) (2002).