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The Sydney Mail, 13 December 1916 - Christmas Number, War Issue

Date: 1916
425 x 300 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Magazine
Object No: 00040698
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This magazine is the December 1916 issue of 'The Sydney Mail', one of the most well-known printed publications in circulation at the time. The cover contains a coloured illustration of a woman with her two children at the beach, with what appears to be the ghost of her husband in military uniform, suggesting that he has died at the front.
    SignificanceMagazines and promotional material illustrate aspects of a developing image of Australian identity. They featured the outdoor sporting lifestyle of swimming, surfing, sailing and boating under sunny tropical skies. This particular example not only represents the popular 'Christmas Number' edition of 'The Sydney Mail', it reflects how the holiday season was represented during a time of crisis, that is, World War I.
    History'The Sydney Mail' was a weekly magazine edition of 'The Sydney Morning Herald' that ran from 1860 to 1938. It featured a range of topic areas including news and current affairs, ladies interest pages, fictional stories and poetry, photographs and illustrations. The striking imagery depicted on the cover and the vast array of advertisements, provide a fascinating cultural snapshot of the Australian way of life as well as Sydney society.

    The Christmas and other commemorative editions were particularly well-received, and the December 1916 edition is no exception. The cover illustration depicts a forlorn-looking woman with her two children at the beach, with what appears to be the ghost of her husband standing next to her. Attired in military uniform, the image implied that her husband recently fought and died on the war front. By this point, World War I had been underway for two years and the Gallipoli Campaign had been a disastrous failure, with horrific losses on all sides.

    This edition of 'The Sydney Mail' reflects the war effort on the home front. The magazine contains fresh reports from the front, an illustration of a soldier saying goodbye to his sweetheart, portraits of soldiers who have died and anti-German war propaganda. The publication demonstrates the extent of the war effort and how, at the time, every resource was systematically and strategically directed to supporting it. The emotive nature of the cover illustration is designed to connect with readers who have lost loved ones at the front. But it also communicates one of the key messages of the war effort: without each soldier's sacrifice ordinary Australians would not be able to enjoy the simple things in life, such as going to the beach or celebrating Christmas.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: The Sydney Mail, 13 December 1916 - Christmas Number, War Issue

    Web title: The Sydney Mail - Christmas Number War Issue - 13 December 1916

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