~Ok, having tried my hand at a couple of book reviews over the past month or so, I’m now going to turn my attention to magazines. Not just any magazines of course, but to those specifically dealing with travel and tourism; colourful locations and off-road adventures; and luxury vacations and backpacker budgets. And believe me, there are plenty of them.
Take a trip to your local newsagent, and you will find titles like Australian Traveller, Get Lost! Travel Magazine, On The Road, Travel + Leisure,
For this first magazine review I have selected the April/May 2009 edition of OUTBACK magazine.
Yes, yes, I know it’s almost July, but I had intended to review the magazine when I bought it a month or so ago. Unfortunately, I’m only just getting around to doing it. However, for the purposes of this review it doesn’t really matter, since I’m looking at the overall quality of the publication, not the timeliness or otherwise of the contents. So can I get back to my review now? Thank you.
OUTBACK – or should it be R.M. Williams OUTBACK, is a bi-monthly magazine owned by R.M. Williams Publishing. R.M. Williams itself is now owned by the Cowley family. However, before R.M. Williams simply became a privately owned company, the name belonged to a real person, Reginald Murray Williams (for more info see Footnote).
OUTBACK was launched in September 1998 to celebrate the Australian outback. In its relatively short history the magazine has caught the attention of people far and wide, and according to the circulation graph published on the OUTBACK website, was increasing its readership with each passing year (the average readership per issue for Jan-Dec 2006, was 232,000).
It’s not hard to see why. The subjects the magazine likes to showcase are as different as the outback itself: station owners, jackaroos, stockmen, travel and hospitality operators, pilots, doctors, miners, fishermen, in fact, anyone who has a close involvement with the outback.
This glossy, large format publication is printed on high quality paper, and is aimed straight at the coffee table demographic. That is, readers who are seen as “…upmarket and middle market, primarily in the 30-55 age group”; and also according to the website, “…people who identify with R.M. Williams, the man and the products, and what this represents to
Having said that, the magazine is a great read, and as you might expect is filled with wonderful photography, illustrating stories in this issue as diverse as water conservation (Water: A New Reality); station life (Home Where The Heart Is), keeping young people on the land (Positive Future’s), and the new ‘sport’ of geocaching (Hide and Seek), which utilises GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to “track down secret caches stashed around the globe”.
The April/May 2009 edition also included a Boys From the Bush At War photo essay; Flocking North which looked at some of
Feature articles are well written, and each writer is given plenty of space to explore their chosen topic fully and comprehensively. For example, the main feature in this issue, Water: A New Reality is spread over 12 pages.
There is an extensive Letters section, and readers can also contribute to the monthly Poem page. In addition, readers can submit their own photographs for monthly sections headed, Mailboxes, Dogs, Boots, and Bush Kids. Each image and accompanying story published (200 words or less) is rewarded with a $100 R.M. Williams gift voucher. By the way, the writer of the published poem also receives a similar gift voucher, while the writer of the Letter of The Month wins an Akubra hat. And finally, readers can also send in a bush yarn, funny story or joke to the Laugh Lines page where “The entry that makes us laugh the most wins a Waeco Cool-Ice icebox valued at AU$209.”
At a cover price of AU$8.95 and running to 156 pages, “…OUTBACK represents all that is powerful and positive about the outback - the people, places, events and experiences that are making outback Australia one of the most favoured tourism destinations on earth.”
Footnote: Information supplied courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:Reginald Murray Williams AO, CMG, (May 24, 1908-November 4, 2003) was an Australian bushman and entrepreneur who rose from a swagman, to a millionaire widely known as just 'R.M.' He was born at Belalie North near Jamestown, 200 kilometres north of Adelaide, into a pioneering settler family working and training horses. R.M. had many adventures in