Glimpses of Colonial Life from Early Australian Pamphlets: Instructional Writing as Social History

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Pamphlets were an important medium of public debate in the 19th century, embracing key religious, political, social, technological and environmental issues of the day. They are a valuable primary resource of relevance to a broad range of disciplines. However, pamphlets are under-utilized within research and teaching because they are typically difficult to locate and access. They are hard to find in the few research libraries which hold them, and these libraries often bundle these small publications together in large single volumes making referencing a daunting task. This paper analyses a selection of digital photographs from the 14,000 Australian colonial pamphlets held at the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The selected photographs not only form an online archive of the earliest examples of Australian technical and instructional writing, but also provide insight into the everyday life, interests, and activities of people around the nation. Through illustration and analysis this paper will provide fresh glimpses of Australian colonial life.


Keywords: Australian, Pamphlets, Social Life, Colonial
Stream: Media Arts Practices: Television, Multimedia, Digital, Online and Other New Media
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Ray Archee

Lecturer, School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney
Sydney, NSW, Australia

The paper reports on research conducted during study leave. My task was to create a history of Australian technical/instructional writing.

Ref: A09P0258