Melbourne Punch

Last updated

Melbourne Punch (from 1900, simply titled Punch) was an Australian illustrated magazine founded by Edgar Ray and Frederick Sinnett, [1] and published from August 1855 to December 1925. The magazine was modelled closely on Punch of London which was founded fifteen years earlier. [2] [3] A similar magazine, Adelaide Punch , was published in South Australia from 1878 to 1884.



Satirical self-portrait of the Melbourne Punch engraver Samuel Calvert, 2 August 1855 Our engraver as he appears on Thursday evening by Samuel Calvert (1855).jpg
Satirical self-portrait of the Melbourne Punch engraver Samuel Calvert, 2 August 1855

Ray and Sinnett published the magazine 1855–1883, followed by Alex McKinley 1883. [3]

Staff artists included Nicholas Chevalier 1855–1861, Tom Carrington 1866–1887, J. H. Leonard 1886 [4] – c. 1891.

Contributing artists included J. C. Bancks, Luther Bradley, O. R. Campbell, George Dancey, Tom Carrington, Ambrose Dyson and his brother Will Dyson, S. T. Gill, Samuel Calvert, Alex Gurney, Hal Gye, Percy Leason, Emile Mercier, Alex Sass, Montague Scott, Alf Vincent and Cecil "Unk" White. [2] [5]

Editors included Frederick Sinnett (1855–1857), James Smith (1857–1863), Charles Bright (1863–1866), William Jardine Smith (1866-1869), Tom Carrington (intermittently) and John Bede Dalley (1924).

Writers included Butler Cole Aspinall, Charles Gavan Duffy, R. H. Horne, James Smith, Thomas Carrington and Nicholas Chevalier. [3]

It was involved in the creation of The Ashes cricket trophy in 1883.

It incorporated the Melbourne Bulletin in 1886, after which it became more involved with "society" news. [3]

A cartoon titled "BAIL-UP!" in 1900 was possibly the first published use of the Kelly Gang in a satirical context.

It was acquired by The Melbourne Herald in 1924 and amalgamated with Table Talk in 1926. [5]

An annual, variously titled Punch Almanac, Melbourne Punch Almanack, Melbourne Punch's Office Almanack and similar, was published for a time. [6]

The publication was Folio size and initially contained 8 pages, increasing to 12 pages in 1878 and was 18 pages by 1891. [7] It sold for sixpence.

Related Research Articles

<i>The Argus</i> (Melbourne) Former newspaper in Melbourne, Australia

The Argus was an Australian daily morning newspaper in Melbourne from 1846 to 1957. It was considered to be the general Australian newspaper of record for this period. Widely known as a conservative newspaper for most of its history, it adopted a left-leaning approach from 1949. The Argus's main competitor was David Syme's more liberal-minded newspaper, The Age.

Julian Tenison-Woods

Julian Edmund Tenison-Woods, commonly referred to as Father Woods, was a Catholic priest and geologist, active in Australia. With Mary MacKillop, he co-founded the Congregation of Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart at Penola in 1866.

Francis Dutton Australian politician

Francis Stacker Dutton CMG was the seventh Premier of South Australia, serving twice, firstly in 1863 and again in 1865.

James Service Australian politician

James Service, Australian colonial politician, was the 12th Premier of Victoria, Australia.

Thomas Elder Australian politician

Sir Thomas Elder,, was a Scottish-Australian pastoralist, highly successful businessman, philanthropist, politician, race-horse owner and breeder, and public figure. Amongst many other things, he is notable for introducing camels to Australia.

Robert Barr Smith

Robert Barr Smith was an Australian businessman and philanthropist.

Ambrose Dyson, often known as Amb Dyson was an Australian illustrator and political cartoonist, born at Alfredton, near Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, the son of George Dyson, then a hawker and later a mining engineer, and his wife Jane, née Mayall. He was educated at state schools at Ballarat and South Melbourne. He was the older brother of the brilliant Will Dyson and the writer Edward Dyson.

William Mower Akhurst was an actor, journalist and playwright in Australia.

Thomas Caterer was a pioneer schoolteacher of Adelaide, South Australia who founded in 1862 a private school for boys which in 1866 became Norwood Grammar School.

Montague Scott, also known as ‘Montagu Scott’ was a London born artist, photographer and cartoonist. He emigrated to Australia 1855 and was the official photographer for the Duke of Edinburgh's visit in 1868. He was cartoonist for the Sydney Punch from 1866 to 1886.

Frederick Sinnett was a literary critic and journalist in colonial Australia.

Tom Carrington (illustrator)

Francis Thomas Dean Carrington, was a journalist, political cartoonist and illustrator in colonial Australia.

Charles Richard Wilton was a journalist in the State of South Australia, a longtime literary editor of The Advertiser and authored, under the pen name of "Autolycus", a long-running weekly column in The Courier of Mount Barker.

Thomas Burr (1813–1866), surveyor and mine manager, was a British explorer and Deputy Surveyor General of South Australia 1839–46.

Andrew MacCormac was a portrait painter in South Australia.

The Gadfly was a weekly magazine produced in Adelaide, South Australia between February 1906 and February 1909, founded by the poet C. J. Dennis. It commenced as an outlet for Australian writers and artists, but broadened in scope to include social gossip, and news and comments on stage and sport. Its contributors included Dennis, Edward Dyson and "Grant Hervey" ; artists included Ambrose Dyson, Will Dyson, Hal Gye, Ruby Lindsay and H. Septimus Power.

The Telegraph was a newspaper in Adelaide, South Australia, founded in 1862, and merged with The Express to become The Express and Telegraph, published from 1867 to 1922.

The Victorian Review originally subtitled A journal of the Volunteer Force was a weekly magazine produced in Melbourne, Australia, and ran for a few months from December 1860, aimed directly at civil servants and the colonies' defence personnel, but much of its reporting was on arts and artists. The title was revived in 1879 for a monthly magazine. A companion weekly, The Federal Australian ran from 1881; both failed in 1886, largely due to mismanagement.

Sydney Punch (1864–1888) was a humorous and satirical magazine published in Sydney, New South Wales. Like Melbourne Punch and Adelaide Punch, it was modelled on Punch of London.

Edgar Ray was an English entrepreneur who launched two magazines in Australia, Melbourne Punch and Sydney Punch. On his return to England, he is credited with founding another, named Touchstone or The New Era.


  1. Mennell, Philip (1892). "Sinnett, Frederick"  . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co via Wikisource.
  2. 1 2 Lindesay, Vane The Inked-In Image Heinemann Melbourne 1970 ISBN   0-09-135460-9
  3. 1 2 3 4 Melbourne Punch
  4. "Police Court—Adelaide". The Express and Telegraph . Vol. XXIII, no. 6, 736. South Australia. 7 June 1886. p. 2. Retrieved 27 January 2022 via National Library of Australia.
  5. 1 2 McCullough, Alan Encyclopedia of Australian Art Hutchinson of London 1968 ISBN   0-09-081420-7
  6. Melbourne punch's almanack
  7. Lurline Stuart (1979), Nineteenth Century Australian Periodicals; an annotated bibliography, Sydney, Hale & Iremonger, p.109. ISBN   0908094531


Mahood, Marguerite The Loaded Line 1973