Literary journalism in colonial Australia

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This book traces the beginnings of literary (narrative) journalism in Australia. It contributes to evolving international definitions of the form, while providing a glimpse into Australia’s early press history and development as a nation. The book comprises two parts. The first examines the forerunners of literary journalism before and during the establishment of a free press, including the letters, diaries and journals of the early colonists, as well as sketches published in the first magazines and newspapers. The book asks if these were “reporting” when there was no thriving press until well into the 19th century -- many were written by women and convicts whose voices otherwise went unheard. The second part examines the first expressions of literary journalism in forms more recognisable today, covering topics as varied as homelessness in Melbourne, the Queensland trade in Pacific Islander labour, and Australia’s involvement in overseas wars, particularly the Boer War. The resulting cultural history reveals important milestones in the development of Australia’s press and literature, while demonstrating the concerns unveiled in colonial literary journalism still resonate in Australia in the 21st century.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages310
ISBN (Electronic)9783031317897
ISBN (Print)9783031317880
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Literary Journalism
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2731-9539
ISSN (Electronic)2731-9547


  • Colonial Australian journalism
  • literary journalism
  • Australian literary journalism
  • narrative journalism


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