About

This site has been set up as part of a larger project that is working towards defining Australian Literary Journalism  and tracing its history from the time of modern settlement to today. The writers represented at the moment were writing before Federation, but the intention is eventually to extend this resource to cover Australia’s literary journalists at least from the first settlement through to the 1970s.

In 1973, the journalist Tom Wolfe published The New Journalism, an anthology of long-form reportage written over the previous decade. The articles he collected were not in the form of the usual newspaper feature, but played with more sophisticated and experimental narrative forms. Much like novels or short stories, the articles used literary techniques such as scenes, characterization, dialogue, point of view and setting.

At the time, Wolfe claimed the ‘new journalists’ were doing something different – that they were developing a style of factual writing that hadn’t been seen before and which would replace fiction in social relevance and literary importance.

Wolfe’s original definition – a useful starting point – is being expanded and refined by researchers across the globe who are increasing our understanding of the discipline of literary journalism, its practice, its theoretical underpinnings and its history.

This website demonstrates that literary journalism was practised in Australia from the very beginning of the colony, evolving as the settlement and its press developed across the nineteenth century. It is a work in progress.

Dr Willa McDonald, Dr Bunty Avieson and Kerrie Davies are co-authors for the Dept of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. The website was launched under the auspices of the university’s Centre for Media History in February, 2015.

If you have any suggestions to improve or add to the content of this site, please contact Dr McDonald at willa.mcdonald@mq.edu.au.