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Regional art gallery hosts Australian Women’s Weekly retrospective

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

1933 was a big year for the history books – some events more pleasant than others. An unequivocal high, however, was the inaugural publication of The Australian Women’s Weekly. A magazine as ubiquitous as it is beloved, at the height of its popularity, around half of all Australian women were reading it.

Now, 90 years on and still in circulation, The Weekly has partnered with Bendigo Art Gallery to launch The Australian Women’s Weekly: 90 Years of an Australian Icon.

Opening May 27 and running until August 27, this free exhibition pays tribute to some of the trailblazing women who have made the Weekly a magazine “for women, by women” since its inception.

The exhibition will showcase some of the magazine’s historical highlights, including the inspiring women who have contributed to its unmatched success, the changing fashion and style trends featured in its pages, and the creative domestic projects inspired by the magazine.

Those with an interest in fashion, journalism, or the course of feminism in Australia are in for a field day here. Flip through editions from the 50’s and 60’s with their articles on current affairs, fashion, cooking, homemaking, motherhood and romance. And chart the journey to the publications of today which cover news, lifestyle, celebrity issues and more.

Exhibitions Bendigo

Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about the inspiring women who helped shaped the magazine. Among them is Dorothy Drain, a courageous wartime reporter, who reported from the front lines during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Of course, The Weekly has always been a source of inspiration when it comes to fashion and style, and the exhibition will feature a selection of garments by leading Australian designers, worn by notable Australian women on recent covers. These include Toni Maticevski worn by legendary culinary entrepreneur Maggie Beer, Sonia Cappallazzo for actress and writer Miranda Tapsell, and an Aurelio Costarella gown worn by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

Dressmaking, interior design, craft, and cooking projects inspired by the Weekly will also feature. The guest of honour – the iconic Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book, which has been inspiring creative parents for over 43 years – will be there too.

“We are beyond thrilled to be bringing some of The Weekly’s most memorable moments to the Bendigo Art Gallery in what will be a spectacular start to our 90th celebrations. The Australian Women’s Weekly has a rich heritage of combining agenda-setting news stories, real-life features with a legendary lifestyle and food offering since 1933. 90 Years of an Australian Icon brings the breadth of The Weekly’s content to the fore, demonstrating its tremendous influence on the lives of Australian women.”

Whether you’re a fashion lover, a history buff, or simply looking for some creative inspiration, this exhibition has something for everyone. And with the V-Line train fares recently capped at $9.20, there’s no reason to miss out.


WHAT: The Australian Women’s Weekly: 90 Years of an Australian Icon
WHERE: Bendigo Art Gallery
WHEN: 27 May 2023 – 27 August 2023
MORE INFO: Bendigo Art Gallery

We wish to acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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