A magazine is a storehouse, derived from the word Arabic makhzan. It’s part of a series. Not as permanent as a book, not as ephemeral as a newspaper, they are today’s chronicles and tomorrow’s history – and often simply a delight to hold and browse.

The term first appeared in 1731’s The Gentlemen’s Magazine and was popularised in the era of mass production. Throughout the twentieth century large, well-known titles emerged alongside “little magazines” with small circulations were important channels of communication and outlets for experimentation.

Now, from Xeroxed mainstream alternatives to luscious thick-papered tomes, magazines continue to inform and surprise with their mixture of ideas and design. The subtitle of one early magazine summed it up: A monthly museum of knowledge and rational entertainment.

At State Library Victoria we have magazines in all shapes and sizes from over 1500 active subscriptions. So, want the latest in culture, current affairs, commerce, computers, clothing, craft, cars, cricket, conservation, comets… and cockatoos? Pay a visit to our Redmond Barry Reading Room where they now have pride of place in the middle of the room.

A magazine rack, filled with magazines.

The magazine rack in the Redmond Barry Reading Room.

Our newly streamlined collection of 144 hottest titles makes it easy to stay up-to-date across a huge range of subjects, so find a comfy chair and consider flicking through some of these highlights.

Australian Birdlife

Photos and articles about our native birds, their conservation and the people who love them. December 2017 looks at villains: some of the myriad threats facing our birds (yes, that includes cats) as well as the best sewage ponds for birding.

Egyptian Archaeology

The journal of the Egypt Exploration Society reports on current excavations, surveys and research. Articles have fascinating titles like “Dreams, rising stars, and falling geckos: divination in ancient Egypt”.


Dedicated to challenging the “mental environment”, this magazine is known for culture jamming and spoof advertisements. They have been pivotal in numerous anti-capitalist campaigns such as Buy Nothing Day and Occupy Wall Street.


If you’ve skipped past Adbusters and have shopping to do, make an informed decision with these independent, unbiased reports and reviews. The current issue has summer covered from travel insurance to solar tiles plus a coffee capsule taste test for those of us working through the holidays.

New Yorker

Famous for journalism, essays, literature and cartoons, and being rigorously fact-checked.


Take your pick from three issues of this pre-eminent fashion magazine: Australia, US or UK editions (more countries’ editions are available online). Look for Carey Mulligan on the January 2018 cover wearing a Giambattista Valli bubblegum pink haute couture ballgown.


A magazine for bike lovers, and for converting everyone else through great bike design, trails, products, people and stories: for example a 7000km bicycle journal across Australia mapping bush architecture.

And more…

View the complete list of 144 titles in the catalogue or in red folders at the magazine racks. Arts magazines can be browsed in the Arts Reading Room: read our previous blog post Serial lunacy in Arts for an overview of titles.

We have many, many more in storage, available to request through our catalogue. We don’t discard any items from our Library so our collections can stretch back centuries and are treasure trove for historical research. And if you’re a Victorian library member you can also access our online magazines wherever you are, whenever you like using PressReader or our full-text databases.


Leslie, J. (2013). The modern magazine : Visual journalism in the digital era. London: Laurence King Publishing. Find on shelf in Arts  AO 050.285 L56M


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