The School Magazine

By The School Magazine team

The School Library Magazine team reflect on their long-running history as a magazine for children.

In 1916, in the middle of World War I, the New South Wales Department of Education, in a bold move, published the first edition of a free literary magazine for public school children: The School Magazine.

To put this into context: when the first edition of The School Magazine made its way to schools, it was no doubt delivered in some parts by horse and cart; Australian troops, having just been withdrawn from Gallipoli, were fighting on the Western Front and elsewhere; Australia’s population was under five million and the prime minister was Billy Hughes; Model T Ford cars were rolling off the world’s first automated production lines.

The School Magazine has been published continuously for 102 years — through two world wars, the Depression, the Moon landings and 22 Olympic Games. The stories, poems and plays published throughout these events reflect the times, making The School Magazine a unique documentation of Australia’s history.

It has nurtured the careers of significant Australian writers and illustrators of children’s literature, including May Gibbs, Pamela Allen, Kim Gamble, Robin Klein, Sophie Masson, Tohby Riddle and Anna Fienberg. And the magazine continues to foster the careers of aspiring writers and artists, while publishing the work of well-established contributors.

Today The School Magazine continues to showcase high-quality children’s literature and promote reading for pleasure. It does more than instil a love of reading in children. Teachers appreciate the tailor-made texts that can form the basis of language, literacy and literature lessons.

In 2016, The School Magazine’s status as an iconic Australian institution was recognised during Education Week, when the NSW Governor, the NSW Minister for Education, and the Secretary of the NSW Department of Education launched the anthology For Keeps: A Treasury of Stories, Poems and Plays, Celebrating 100 Years of The School Magazine at a special centenary event in the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney.

The School Magazine remains today, as it was back in 1916, a magazine aimed squarely at children. It has fostered a lifelong love of reading in successive generations of students and it continues to make a significant contribution to Australia’s educational and cultural landscape.

The School Magazine team

NSW Department of Education