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The Lone Hand

The Lone Hand

The Lone Hand, an Australian magazine that ran from 1907-1921, has recently been digitised and made available through TROVE.

The Lone Hand (1907-1921), a sister publication to the famous Bulletin (1880-2008), has been digitised and made available through Trove.

Modelled on the London Strand and founded by J.F. Archibald and Frank Fox, The Lone Hand was given the title originally preferred for the Bulletin itself. It was a monthly magazine of literature and poetry, with illustrations by significant Australian artists of the time. It was edited by Frank Fox (1907-09), A.H. Adams (1909-11), Bertram Stevens (1912-19) and Walter Jago (1919-21). Though Archibald set the magazine up, he never took a substantial editorial role.

It was launched in May 1907 with a cover illustrated by Norman Lindsay, depicting a white male, hat under arm, raising his hand to the sky. Indeed, the magazine's name relates to Archibald’s experiences on the North Queensland goldfields in the 1870s, a place of triumph for the solitary, masculine, independent male individual. Appealing to post-Federation nationalism, the reader that Archibald had in mind was white – The Lone Hand was a supporter of the White Australia Policy – as early as its opening editorial it claims ‘The Lone Hand has for its political platform an Honest, Clean, White Australia.’

Like the Bulletin, The Lone Hand solicited contributions from the public, as well as prizes for readers that picked up typos and other errors. Initially the journal sold well, but its readership declined after a few years. To aid the ailing paper, Frank Fox added a women’s section and fashion photography, and instituted a beauty contest. Prices were dropped and then raised again, the magazine struggled to pitch itself effectively, and eventually had to close.

Over its short life (just shy of 14 years), the magazine did feature a broad array of significant Australian authors and artists – including Lionel, Norman and Percy Lindsay, Zora Cross, Ruby Winckler, CJ Dennis, Will Dyson, Henry Lawson, Hugh McCrae, Dowell O’Reilly and David Souter. Many of the contributors published under pseudonyms.

The Lone Hand joins a wealth of twentieth-century magazines recently added to Trove. This title has been digitised and made fully searchable online as part of the State Library's Digital Excellence Program, a major initiative supported by the NSW Government.

REF: B. Griffin-Foley (ed.), A Companion to the Australian Media, 2014, p 77