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ACR is seeking archival information, historical records, or any data related to the circulation of fiction from all sources in Australia since 1800. In particular we are interested in records from, or information about:

  • Australian Mechanics Institutes, Literary Institutes, and Schools of Arts
  • public libraries
  • commercial subscription or circulating libraries
  • private libraries and collections
  • book clubs
  • booksellers records
  • newspapers and magazines
  • diaries or letters

We also welcome proposals to submit structured information (in the form of tables, spreadsheets, or databases) to ACR.

Please contact Assoc. Prof. Tim Dolin at the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth WA 6845. Ph: +61 8 92663769 or email t.dolin@curtin.edu.au.


Fiction and the Australian Reading Public, 1888-1914

September 1, 2008
Tim DolinPapers, Reading

For a brief moment in the history of the modern West, between about 1880 and 1920, narrative fiction in books, newspapers, and magazines dominated the rapidly growing markets for transnational mass-produced popular entertainment in English, before being challenged successively by cinema, radio, and television.

Victorian Domestic Fiction and the Settler Reader: Annie Baxter Dawbin, 1834-1868

June 8, 2008
Tim DolinDiaries, Papers, Victorian Fiction

At the forefront of the new empiricism in literary studies has been the call for a “larger idea of literary history” and a counter-intuitive idea of how to approach critical reading.

The Secret Reading Life of Us

June 8, 2008
Tim DolinPapers

It is no secret that Australia, when it was formally constituted as a nation in 1901, was already a nation of readers; nor that most Australians read, and still read, fiction.


    Random Quote

    “This is essentially the land of newspapers. The colonist is by nature an inquisitive animal, who likes to know what is going on around him. The young colonial has inherited this proclivity. Excepting the Bible, Shakespeare, and Macaulay's 'Essays,' the only literature within the bushman's reach are newspapers. The townsman deems them equally essential to his well-being. Nearly everybody can read, and nearly everybody has leisure to do so. Again, the proportion of the population who can afford to purchase and subscribe to newspapers is ten times as large as in England; hence the number of sheets issued is comparatively much greater. Every country township has its weekly or bi-weekly organ. In Victoria alone there are over 200 different sheets published. Nor is the quality inferior to the quantity. On the contrary, if there is one institution of which Australians have reason to be proud, it is their newspaper press.”

    R.E.N. Twopeny, Town Life in Australia (1883). Ringwood: Penguin [1973: 221]