The first issue of the Home appeared in February 1920. Published by Art in Australia Ltd, the Home was aimed at the Australian market of middle-class women readers to help underwrite the publication of Art in Australia and other publishing projects. Initially produced by a team of editors, including Sydney Ure Smith (art editor), Bertram Stevens (literary editor) and Julia Lister (fashion editor), the Home suffered early losses, but strengthened to provide the financial stability required by Art in Australia Ltd.
The Home is widely admired for its role in the development of graphic art and advertising in Australian magazines, particularly the influence of its magazine covers. Often proclaiming to be 'modern', the magazine did not, however, embrace all contemporary developments in modern art, rejecting techniques such as cubism, futurism and surrealism. Nevertheless, discussion of modern technology and architecture, and the magazine's role in advertising and cover art gave the magazine a very modern appearance for its time.
Combined with Sydney Ure Smith's advertising connections, the Home and Art in Australia developed a significant network of associates in graphic arts, advertising, printing and publishing. Seizing on this potential, the magazine was bought (with Art in Australia) by the Fairfax press in 1934 to challenge magazines such as Vogue and Fashion and Society. Ure Smith and Leon Gellert were retained as editors, but after the magazines failed to live up to Fairfax's expectations, Ure Smith retired to pursue other projects. Gellert remained as editor until the Home ceased publication in 1942.While not often recognised for its literary content, the Home published the work of many of Australia's leading writers. Contributors included Dorothea Mackellar, Furnley Maurice, Nettie Palmer, Norman Lindsay, Lionel Lindsay, Joan Lindsay, Kenneth Slessor, Mary Gilmore, Arthur Adams and David Unaipon. Katharine Susannah Prichard's novel The Wild Oats of Han was serialised in Home during 1926 and 1927. The magazine also printed articles on a number of Australian writers and artists, including Norman Lindsay, Barbara Baynton, Will Dyson, George Lambert, Margaret Preston and Hans Heysen.
'In the early twentieth century, new technologies of media, communication, and transportation opened up a world of possibilities and led to transformations of the public sphere. Amongst the hundreds of new periodicals flooding the Australian marketplace, quality culture and leisure magazines beckoned to readers with the glamour of modernity and exotic images of pre-modern paradise. Through instructive and entertaining content, these glossy modern magazines widened the horizons of non-metropolitan audiences and connected readers in rapidly urbanising cities such as Sydney and Melbourne with the latest fashions, current affairs, and cultural offerings of London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and beyond. Designed by fashionable commercial artists, travel advertisements for shipping companies such as Burns Philp, Cunard, Matson, and P&O lined their pages. The golden age of the culture and leisure magazine coincided with the golden age of sea travel, middlebrow aspiration, and modernity.
'Focusing on the Australian interwar periodicals The Home, The BP Magazine, and MAN, this book explores the contraction of vast geographical spaces and the construction of cultural hierarchies alongside the advent of new media. This book investigates the role tastemaking culture and leisure magazines played in transporting the public imagination outward beyond the shores of Australia and upward or downward on the rapidly changing scales of cultural value. By delivering a potent mix of informative instruction, entertainment, worldliness, and escape, these magazines constructed distinct geographical imaginaries connected to notions of glamour, sophistication, and aspiration. They guided their readers through the currents of international modernity and helped them find their place in the modern world.
'This book is based on thorough research into an archive of important yet under-examined modern Australian periodicals, and makes a significant contribution to the scholarly literature on magazines and middlebrow culture in the interwar period. It offers new insights into the formation of the tastes of a rapidly modernising and differentiating reading public, as well as new understandings of the cultures of vernacular modernity and colonialism. This book also offers alternative perspectives, and positions Australia’s cultural and literary history within transnational cultural flows across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Its analysis of Australian colonial modernity thus provides a model for examining collisions of modernity and colonialism, and for investigating connections between geographical imaginaries and social mobility, in other international contexts.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'This article reviews the illustration history of Australian periodicals to place modern illustrated short stories in this context. It argues that illustrated periodicals drew on networks of etchers, engravers, printers, promoters, advertisers, authors, and artists that were globally distributed as well as locally contentrated. As Victorian Studies have experienced a visual turn in the last decade, and as modern periodical studies have also gained momentum, this paper argues that the time is past due to consider Australian Literature in terms of its connections to visual print culture, especially in the peridocial scene. Of the several reasons this article offers to account for persistent oversights of this material in the Australian context, it explores the ways that modern magazines challenge existing paradigms of national literature because of their intensive investments in travel, mobility, and commercial culture. Yet, in their original contexts, illustrated short stories in modern Australian magazines that celebrated these values existed side-by-side with nationalist literature and national brands.' (Publication abstract)
Recounting how the The Home was founded as a quality publication, G. H. Patterson notes that the journal has established 'a circulation of readers comprising mostly the well-to-do people throughout the Commonwealth'. He subsequently discusses 'the value of The Home as an advertising medium', particularly for 'an advertiser who has luxuries to sell'.