Australian Electronics Magazines 1939-2001


[Electronics Contents Page]


This page contains historical information about popular electronics magazines that were published in Australia during the period 1939 to 2001. There are several other web pages on Internet that also present relevant and useful information, see the links below.

These magazines were available quite cheaply in newsagents and book stores all across Australia. They were mainly targetted for consumption by electronics hobbysts, trade, professional and industry folk. There were also dozens of other trade journals and company magazines published in Australia, such as Radiotronics and Mullard Outlook, that were generally only available by postal subscription, from the companies concerned or directly from the publishers.

Australian popular electronics magazines concentrated on current news, product reviews, hobbyst construction projects, electronics theory and data, servicing stories, answering questions submitted by readers, classified advertisements, and advertisements by electronics suppliers and manufacturers. The earlier issues of Radio & Hobbies also included articles on military topics (during World War 2, 1939-1945 and later), and diverse subjects such as magic, model aviation, home handy-man tips and domestic projects.

This provided an informal training ground for a large number of electronics enthusiasts who eagerly awaited each new issue. There was a great deal of practical experience gained by reading, understanding and constructing the hundreds of circuit designs and projects that were published over this 62 year period. The magazines are also an important source of information on the contemporary progress of radio, television, audio, video, computer and other related technologies such as military developments and space exploration. It also provides accounts on the state of world political affairs, the development of modern consumer society, and even fashion and lifestyles through incidental advertisements and images, particularly the magazine covers.

Some of the dates, issue numbers and facts are yet to be confirmed. Please contact me if you can provide more accurate details.

Glenn Baddeley

Radio & Hobbies, Radio Television & Hobbies, Electronics Australia

First issue: April 1939 (Volume 1, Number 1)
Last issue: September / October 2001 (Volume 63, Number 8)
Issues published: About 810, to be confirmed, not including Year Books

Radio and Hobbies in Australia commenced as a monthly magazine in April 1939, and was published every month for the next 62 years. It started as a technically focussed spin-off of the popular Wireless Weekly magazine, which originally began in 1922. I am not sure if Wireless Weekly continued after 1939.

The early years presented a vast number of radio construction projects using local and imported valves (thermonic vacuum tubes), sometimes two or three per issue. In later years, audio equipment, such as pre-amplifiers and power-amplifiers featured fairly heavily. There was a large variety of other innovative construction projects, including televisions, test equipment, power supplies, loudspeakers, and microcomputers such as the pioneering Educ-8 and Mini-Scamp.

The magazine changed name several times over the years:

Its failure was mainly due complete loss of technical electronics content (no schematics!) and the consequent abandonment by its previously loyal readers. The existing magazine readership also did not take to the completely new format of mainly product reviews and the latest trends in technology gadgets. This was a sad end to Australia's most vital and long lived electronics magazine.

I purchased my first issue of Electronics Australia in October 1973 when I was 12, and remained a subscriber until its end. I constructed quite a few of their projects from kits, and built my own design variations of published schematics, printed circuit boards and cabinets.

During these 28 years I was also collecting previous issues. After significant effort involved in searching, swapping and buying, I now have a complete set of original issues in mostly very good condition, except for a couple of issues in 1939 and 1940 that are missing the front covers or back covers. This takes up about 8 metres of bookshelf space!


Electronics Today International

First issue: April 1971 (Volume 1, Number 1)
Last free standing issue: April 1990, to be confirmed (Volume 20, Number 4 - implied - not numbered in issue)
Last issue incorporated in Electronics Australia: October 1990 (Volume 20, Number 9 - implied - not numbered in issue)
Issues published: Over 230, to be confirmed

More info coming soon....

UK edition commenced in March 1972. French edition commenced in November 1972.

ETI was acquired by Federal Publishing in 1982 or 1983 (month to be confirmed), which already included Electronics Australia in its magazine stable. The inevitable merge occurred about 8 years later in 1990, when the May/June 1990 issue of ETI was bound inside EA for June 1990, with ETI page numbers 1 - 40 doubling up as EA page numbers 75 - 114. EA July 1990 included July ETI of 42 pages. EA August 1990 included a 38 page ETI. EA September 1990 included a 32 page ETI. EA October 1990 included the final issue of ETI ever published, with only 12 pages. Here ended this innovative magazine, just short of 20 years.

Elektor (Australian Edition)

First issue: September 1983 (Volume 1, Number 1)
Last issue: Unknown
Issues published: Approx. 25 - 35, to be confirmed

Elektor originated in The Netherlands in 1961 by one man producing an issue every 3 months. In 1971, the magazine expanded into Germany with 15 people on the staff. This followed in 1976 with an edition in England, then editions in France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Finland. Australian and New Zealand editions were launched in September 1983. Greek, Turkish and Indian issues also appeared in 1983. There were over 100 people working for the magazine and close to one million readers worldwide.

Elektor focussed on original and high quality construction projects using the latest components, with clear descriptions of theory, practical design and detailed construction diagrams. It presented current market news and trends, as well as reference data sheets and answers to readers' technical questions. The sub-title on the cover was "up-to-date electronics for lab and leisure". Project printed circuit boards were produced by Elektor Print Services (EPS).

Schematics and notation had a strong European influence, such as using rectangles for resistors and "U" to represent power supply rails.

11 issues were published per year by Elektor Australia Pty Ltd, with October / November being a double issue. It was printed by Offset Alpine Printers in Sydney.

The Australian Elektor was incorporated into Australian Electronics Monthly in November 1986 or earlier (exact month to be confirmed).


Australian Electronics Monthly

First issue: July 1985 (Volume 1, Number 1)
Last issue: December 1988 (Volume 4, Number 5), to be confirmed
Issues published: 41, to be confirmed

This magazine was founded by Roger Harrison (VK2ZTB) and David Tilbrook (BSc), who both previously worked for the Australian edition of Electronics Today International. They left ETI after Federal Publications acquired Electronics Australia and ETI, moved their offices, and ultimately merged ETI into EA.

It always had a small Kookaburra on the front cover and consisted of about 100 to 130 pages. The publisher was Kedhorn Holdings Pty Ltd.

Roger was Editor for all monthly issues. David was Project Director, and he departed by early 1987 (not sure of exact date).

The magazine featured AEM developed construction projects, but also contained "Star Projects" that were designed, developed and marketed by third-party companies. Other material included practical computing, communications, consumer electronics, general news, and circuits and technical information.

There were 23 articles published on the Microbee microcomputer.

By 1987 (not sure exactly which issue) its sub-title was "Incorporating Elektor Electronics".


Talking Electronics

First issue: 1981 (Number 1), month to be confirmed
Last issue: May 1989 (Number 15)
Issues published: 15

Issues were published irregularly over a period of 8 years. Many included a printed circuit board on the front cover, which was a first for any electronics magazine in the world.

Talking Electronics was entirely produced by Colin Mitchell, based at his house in Cheltenham, Victoria. He also published 2 books on FM Bugs, the Electronics Notebook series of 6 books, Electroncs for Model Railways in 2 books, and other interesting titles, comprising 18 books in all. Colin also produced electronic kits, which sold in their thousands, including kits for several bare-bones computers.

All Talking Electronics materials are now in the public domain.


Silicon Chip

First issue: November 1987 (Number 1)
Issues published to present (May 2015): Over 330, to be confirmed

Silicon Chip was started by Leo Simpson in 1987 after he departed from Electronics Australia, where he rose to become Managing Editor in 1986.

The magazine is published monthly by Silicon Chip Publications Pty. Ltd. and printed in Australia by this company. Subscriptions to an online version are also available.

Its main readers are enthusiasts, trades people, and professional in electronics, computers and related fields. It publishes several construction projects every month, and includes technical and computer features, product news and review, vintage radio, a serviceman's log, letters from readers and responses to questions posed by readers.

Silicon Chip acquired the copyright to Electronics Australia, Electronics Today International, Radio Television and Hobbies, Radio and Hobbies, and Wireless Weekly. This excludes copyright of submitted material, where ownership remains with the authors. Copyright has expired on the earlier material.

As at August 2015, it remains the only popular electronics magazine in Australia, since eat - Electronics Australia Today ended publication in 2001.


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Copyright © Glenn Baddeley 2015 was last updated 5th August 2015.
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