Manfred the Poet

HISTORY of Bush Poetry

THE BULLETIN - Bushman's Bible

The 'bushman's bible' is no more

Thursday Jan 24 15:00 2008 AEDT

By Phil Han

Australia's longest-running magazine may now close because it is no longer financially viable, but that is a far cry from the days when The Bulletin's was known as the "bushman's bible".

Two Sydney journalists, J.F. Archibald and John Haynes, launched the magazine back in 1880 intending it to be a journal of political opinion and business commentary.

The first issue came out on January 31 and soon The Bulletin established itself as a highly influential and patriotic publication.

Much of its contents were viewed as nationalistic, radical and xenophobic.

Throughout much of its first 100 years The Bulletin ran racist cartoons mocking Chinese, Japanese, Jews and indigenous Australians.

Its motto was "Australia for the White Man".

In 1886 The Bulletin opened its pages to readers, accepting contributions from miners, labourers and timber workers.

It became known as the "bushman's bible" and boasted a circulation of over 80,000 by 1900.

But The Bulletin's prestige and influence fell drastically after World War Two following the departure of its founder, J.F. Archibald, and changing social attitudes.

The magazine came to be seen as a relic of racist, out-of-touch values.

This did not change until after the magazine was purchased by Frank Packer in 1961.

The Bulletin brand made a fresh start under ACP Magazines, with a relaunch as a modern news magazine in a similar mould to America's Newsweek magazine.

The old "White Man" slogan was thrown out and much of the editorial staff sacked.

The list of people who have worked on The Bulletin includes high profile politicains, businessmen, and well known Australians.

Bob Carr, Malcolm Turnbull, Norman Lindsay, Banjo Paterson and Laurie Oakes all worked on the publication.

Some of those who have graced the cover of The Bulletin in recent years include the Pope, Osama bin laden, Russell Crowe, Schapelle Corby and pop singer Pink.