Rare Books

Sensational Tales: Australian Popular Publishing 1850s-1990s

War-time Paperback Publishing

In 1940 a shortage of US dollars led to the Australian government enforcing restrictions on imports that in effect banned all US publications. These restrictions led to the flourishing of an Australian pulp and comic book industry.

Among the most successful publishers was Frank Johnson's Invincible Press, which published a mix of Australian fiction and popular non-fiction and British and American thrillers, as well as comics and pulp magazines.

Invincible authors included Jon Cleary, Frank Clune, SH Courtier, Graham Greene and film star George Sanders.

Another war-time success was the Currawong Publishing Company, active from about 1942 to 1951. Currawong issued a wide variety of fiction - including mysteries, westerns, romances and fantasies - under the slogan 'You can't go wrong with a Currawong'; with a few exceptions, Currawong's authors were Australian.

Currawong also issued a series of 'Unpopular Pamphlets', advancing left-wing economic and social ideas for post-war reconstruction.

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