Smith's Weekly was primarily an illustrated broadsheet newspaper carrying whole pages of cartoons, political comment and comic strips. It was named after and initially funded by Sir James Joynton Smith (1858-1943), an Englishman who became lord mayor of Sydney. For much of its life Smith's Weekly was also regarded as 'the Digger's newspaper'. During the 1920s and 1930s it became a leading advocate for the welfare of returned servicemen and women, and throughout its life it ran a regular page of news, correspondence and other items intended for Diggers. This continued in the years following World War II.
'Lost in the traditional stories of Depression and unemployment is the extraordinary technological and media revolution that was taking place in Australia of the interwar years. For it was in these years that we now find the origins of the great media empires of the twentieth century: the house of Murdoch and Packer. It saw, too, the birth of widespread radio technology and the iconic Australian serial, The Australian Women's Weekly. Indeed, as Bridget Griffen-Foley demonstrates here, the 1920s and 1930s were far from being just an age of economic hardship. Rather, this was perhaps the first period in Australian history in which most citizens were afforded the opportunity to experience extraordinary new communications technology.'