Australia in the 1880s

The Bulletin

On 31 January 1880, the first issue of The Bulletin was published by Jules Francois Archibald and John Haynes. It was an eight-page illustrated weekly magazine, with an initial print run of 3,000 copies. Published in Sydney, it was pitched at a widespread 'bush readership' of labourers and itinerant bush workers, many of whom had acquired literacy from the compulsory schooling of the previous decade. In December 1888, TheBulletin published the 21-year-old Henry Lawson's first story His Father's Mate. The following year The Bulletin published Banjo Patterson's 'Clancy of the Overflow' in December, and 'The Man from Snowy River' in 1890.


A snapshot of 1888

  • January
    • Non-Indigenous Australians celebrate 100 years of colonial settlement.

  • May
    • A demonstration against Chinese immigration takes place outside Sydney Town Hall and a month later an Intercolonial Conference on the Chinese question is held.
    • In Queensland, Thomas Glassey becomes the first trade union candidate in any colonial parliament.

  • December
    • The Centennial International Exhibition opens in Melbourne in the newly built Royal Exhibition Building.
    • Henry Lawson's first story, His Father's Mate, is published.
    • The women's magazine, The Dawn, begins publication with editorials by Louisa Lawson, mother of Henry Lawson, and advocates voting rights for women and divorce law reform.
    • It also included household hints, a short story and poetry as well as fashion news. Established by Louisa it was prepared and printed by women.


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