Published in Sydney by Art in Australia Ltd (1920–34) and John Fairfax & Sons (1935–42), the Home: The Australian Journal of Quality was the first locally produced women’s magazine to emulate international society magazines of the Condé Nast stable. Producing more than 230 issues during its 23-year print run, publisher Sydney Ure Smith (1887–1949) launched his prestigious and trend-setting quarterly publication in 1920 with Bertram Stevens as inaugural editor, and from 1922 assumed co-editorship with Leon Gellert.
With an annual subscription price of 10 shillings and sixpence, the Home targeted the smart set and those who aspired to it, promising subscribers they themselves would never be old-fashioned or ordinary. Always far more than a fashion magazine, it promoted a modern lifestyle to the monied classes, many members of which appeared on its pages, while locating Australian readers within their international context. The Home’s high production values, quality art paper, layout and typography distinguished it from virtually all other Australian periodicals. It offered lavishly illustrated feature articles, full of sought-after information that encouraged cover-to-cover reading across five main areas: domestic architecture, interior decoration, the garden and the art of living, fashion and feminine adornment. Middle-class readers, upon whom the Home’s circulation and advertising impact depended, also valued its taste-making edicts and instructional content.
Never a literary magazine, the Home published works by many leading Australian writers, including David Unaipon, and commissioned its visually alluring graphic design from inventive local commercial artists like Hera Roberts, who contributed more than 50 covers. Prominent camera artists, including staff photographer Harold Cazneaux, captured the comings and goings of stylishly clad socialites and created eye-catching advertisements. As advertising became an increasingly lucrative extension of magazine content, photography gained primacy over illustration, and the Home showcased the work of young innovators like Russell Roberts and Max Dupain.
Seeking wider readership, the Home had begun to turn towards the mass market by 1928. Dress and knitting patterns featured regularly, the inclusion of recipes from 1932 boosted advertising revenue, and circulation was around 7000. Looking to challenge the market share of rival imported and local titles like Vogue (1909– ) and Fashion and Society (1929–49), John Fairfax & Sons purchased Art in Australia Ltd in 1934. Ure Smith retained co-editorship of the Home until 1938, when his departure instigated a discernible change of style for the magazine. Leon Gellert continued as sole editor until the Home ceased publication in 1942
REF: R. Holden, Cover Up (1995).