National Library of Australia Zine Collection

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The National Library of Australia has a collection of 3000-4000 Australian zines and fanzines, received through legal deposit and a series of formed collections. The Library has collection strengths in the area of Australian science fiction fanzines, particularly those from the 1970s and 1980s; in this area the Library’s collection benefited significantly from the donation of the Susan Smith-Clarke Fanzine Collection. In addition it has a notable collection of comic fanzines, including over 600 mainly non-Australian titles published between 1960 and 1979, in the John Ryan Collection of Australian Comic Books (MS 6514). In addition the Library holds the Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics, which includes comic zines produced between 1990-2000, and the Nick Henderson Zine Collection, which includes approximately 2000 zines, largely post-2000.

The National Library of Australia has been particularly active in building its zine collection from 2010, with staff undertaking a 'zine and alternative press' project to identify alternative collection strategies; dedicated staff to underatke full-marc cataloguing of zines (quite unusually for libraries, which often provide only limited bibliographic records due to the limited information and non-standard forms of zines); and establishing a zine and fringe publishing blog The eloquent page.


The earliest fanzines in the library’s collections date from the early 1950s, with publications such as the Australian science fiction newsletter , Woomera, Etherline, Perhaps and others. Representing the 1960s are the The Mentor, begun in 1965, The New millennial harbinger and Scythrop. In addition to the science fiction fanzines there is a small but significant collection of American and Australian comic fanzines contained in the John Ryan collection of Australian comic books, ca. 1940-1960.


The 1970s saw sizeable growth in Australian science-fiction fanzine production, in part inspired by the holding of the 1975 World Science Fiction Convention, the first time it had been held in Australia. This decade is represented by such titles as Gegenschein, Star struck, The Bionic rabbit, the Cygnus chronicler, Grundoon, Crux, WAHF-full, and Turn left at Thursday. From the mid-1970s, there can be seen an increasing representation of fanzines devoted to a science fiction television program, including Dr Who, Blake’s 7, and Star Trek, with this last program represented most notably in the library’s collection with publications such as Terran times, Thrall, Beyond Antares, Spock, Constellation, The rum rebellion, Captain’s log, The Captain's briefs, Genesis, Prime directive, The McCoy tapes, Truffles, Sons of Kiron III, Ultrawarp and Locutus.


From the 1980s the collection includes titles such as The Space Wastrel, Ornithopter, The Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet, Crabapple, Nemesis, Xenophilia, The Notional, and Tigger. This is also the period in which the collection becomes increasingly diverse, with titles devoted to, for example, the Australian television program Prisoner, Prisoner - the Wentworth star, amateur horror fiction such as Skintomb, metaphysics Dreams and false alarms, punk Be Happy and Australian literature Weberwoman’s Wrevenge.


The ‘boom’ in perzine and music zines produced in Australia during the 1990s is not well represented, however music zines such as Pig meat, Beanz Baxter, Ignite zine, Loser friendly, Nappy kill fanzine, Octarine, Overdrive and Pee; notable perzines such as A show of hands zine and The life and times of Mavis McKenzie; and literary zines including Milk bar and Papyrus helix are held. A small number of comic zines from the 1990s can also be found in the Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics, 1990-2000. Zines produced in the 2000s are well represented in the Nick Henderson Zine Collection, including key zines such as Erinsborough exploits, YOU, Westside Angst, Picaresque, I am a Camera and Fly away bird.

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