The Library has been acquiring journals – published in Australia, Great Britain and elsewhere – since it opened in 1856. Most of the 19th-century journals in our collection report on events of the day, often with commentaries on politics, scientific discovery and economics. They also contain biographies and obituaries, letters to the editor and advertisements.
Scientific discoveries, inventions and explorers' reports feature in 19th-century issues of Nature, Scientific American and the Calcutta review, and in the proceedings of organisations like the Royal Society of Victoria and the Royal Society of London.
Literary magazines such as The Melbourne review, Colonial monthly, Blackwood’s Edinburgh magazine, Punch and Westminster review were very popular in their day. Books were often first published as instalments in journals: Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories were serialised in The Strand, while Marcus Clarke's major novel His natural life first appeared in 1870 in The Australian journal. Journals also covered more philosophical topics: spiritualism, for example, was extensively discussed in The harbinger of light.
To investigate the Library's journals online, check out JSTOR; Periodicals index online, which indexes articles back to the start of a journal; and the Wellesley index to Victorian periodicals 1824–1900, which provides contents pages and author indexes.