Walkabout Magazine CoverThe “Walkabout Magazine and the Digital Humanities,” project was funded under UQ's HASS Partnership Funding Scheme, commencing 2018. The research team included IASH's Associate Professor Anna Johnston, and UQ literary history and art history academics working collaboratively with UQ Library digitisation experts and the National Library of Australia (NLA).

The project used Walkabout magazine to pose innovative research questions through new open-access digital humanities resources.

Popular mid Century magazines created imagined communities through the innovative media technologies of their time, and provide a model through which to explore questions about readership, national identity, and cultural consumption that cannot be answered solely through traditional humanities/social science methodologies. As to why this particular magazine was so important, Anna says:

Walkabout was the kind of magazine people read in train station waiting rooms, at the doctor’s surgery, or when they visited a government office. People—ordinary readers and specialists—remember it very fondly as part of their childhood or their family or school library. Importantly, Walkabout was part of the first national travel association (ANTA) and part of a campaign for Australians to see the island continent as their home, displacing the nostalgia for Britain as Home on the part of many settler Australians. It provides a fascinating snapshot into a formative period of Australia’s development in the middle years of the twentieth century (1934-74). Its articles are accessible yet informative, and its photographs are exceptional. Community groups have also been keen to see the magazine online, to trace their own local histories and memories.

The digitized material allowed the team to test their methodology and build an interdisciplinary and national collaboration linking researchers; university, state and national libraries; and the public. Working with Trove and the NLA, allowed the UQ team to develop research questions of mutual significance to academic, technical, and industry sectors.

As a result of the project, the full run of Walkabout (1934-74) is now in the NLA’s open access TROVE dataset, freely available to the public and with the added benefit of a thoroughly researched fully annotated bibliography with the metadata.

More information on the magazine and the digitization project can be found in the blog post that Anna wrote for the National Library of Australia and in the video below.