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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Seventy years of Pacific Islands Monthlies

 

The National Library has recently completed the digitisation of the entire run of the Pacific Islands Monthly magazine, from the first issue in 1930 to the last in 2000, and all the issues can be browsed or the text fully searched on Trove.

The Pacific Islands Monthly (PIM) was founded in Sydney by New Zealand-born journalist Robert William (Robbie) Robson, who had moved to Australia during World War I. The first issue of PIM was in newspaper format and consisted of 12 pages. The number of pages gradually increased and by the 17th issue (December 1931) PIM had changed to a magazine style format. In later life it evolved into a glossier coloured magazine.

PIM was required reading for anyone interested or living in not only Papua New Guinea but also islands farther to the east, and after I'd moved to New Guinea in the dying days of 1969, I never missed an issue. In fact, I've always thought that I got my first job in New Guinea with a firm of chartered accountants in Rabaul through a classified ad which I had placed in PIM sometime in late 1969, and some ten years ago even made a trip to the National Archives in Canberra with the express purpose of finding the ad and taking a copy of it.

I remember sitting in their cavernous reading room and paging through all twelve issues of their 1969 magazines and not finding anything that looked even close to the Job Wanted ad as I remembered it, "Young accountant (24), still studying, seeks position in the islands."

Now that PIM has been digitised, I've been able to search the same issues on the computer from the comfort of "Riverbend" but with the same result - NOTHING! So how and where did I advertise? One thing I know for certain: I did not reply to a Position Vacant advertisement. Strange how faulty one's memory can become.

Still, it was a treat to read those old issues and through them relive the six or seven years I spent in this wondrous and mysterious country that has always felt like a second home to me.

Take the opportunity to do your own exploring by either browsing through the issues looking for unexpected gems, or searching for particular people, places or topics. Endless hours of pleasure and edification await you!

Click here (click on 'Browse this Collection', then use the drop-down menu to select 'Set 461-480' and click on 'Go' to go straight to 1968).