Peninsula Writing – #6 – 1986

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The sixth issue of Peninsula Writing was perhaps the finest edition of them all. It was also the last. The magazine took on a theme approach for the first time, the Mahogany Ship, an almost mythical ship that had been sighted briefly half-buried in the sand dunes near Warrnambool that seemed to pre-date known European settlement.

This was the first cover that wasn’t by Gavin Duffy; a map of the Warrnambool sand dunes including the enigmatic site of wreck. Beyond that, the issue didn’t contain a lot of artwork.

The Mahogany Ship idea was an interesting choice, given that the Mahogany Ship history is located on the west coast of Victoria, a long way from the Mornington Peninsula. But the range of writing gathered together was significant.

The issue opened with Liam Davison’s fine story The Mahogany Ship, Melbourne poet Philip Martin generously allowed us to reprint his poem Dune Ship, which had just appeared in his own book, and he also wrote an interesting account of the genesis of that poem. followed by a poem by Judith Rodriguez The Mahogany Ship, Dune Ship on a Hot Day by Francis King, The Mahogany Ship by Warrick Wynne, Ship by Connie Barber, The Ship as Lover by Mary Chapman and The Mahogany Ship by Mimie F. Brown.

This was the first time in six issues that Liam Davison and myself had included our own creative writing in the magazine.

In the review sections we substituted the reviews for piece by Liam Davison: The Mahogany Ship in Australian Fiction

I think that issue five is the high point of the magazine, for the ideas and the quality of the writing and how the pieces bounce off each other, although you could argue that, for its artwork, issue four was the best.

There is no hint in this issue that it would be the last. In fact, the last page still seeks subscriptions. But it would be the final issue of this little magazine.

Below: Contents of Issue six

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Below: The Editorial for Issue six.

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Below: Poems by Francis King and Warrick Wynne

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Below: Extract from ‘The Mahogany Ship’ by Liam Davison

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Peninsula Writing – #5 – 1985

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The fifth issue of Peninsula Writing featured a photograph on the cover for the first time, a stylised looking shot of one of the Balcombe Army huts falling into disrepair already.

This issue featured stories by David Kerr, Michael Ellis and Alan Wayman and poetry by Dorothy Hall, Connie Barber, Karen Pridmore, Eileen Leeds, Bob Hammerly, Pamela Dell and Noel Bean.

In the reviews section, I reviewed Peter Murphy’s Lies, Poetry Australia No. 90, The Truth about Unicorns by Doris Brett and Celebration by Joy Beaudette Cripps. Anne Williams reviewed Beachmasters by Thea Astley.

By this stage we were able to list stockists: Robinsons Bookshop in Frankston, who sponsored the back cover, Farrells Bookshop in Mornington, Red Hill Newsagency, Jindalee Craft Store in Balnarring, The Haybasket in Somerville, Tyabb Antique Store, Merricks General Store, Flinders Craft Store, Monash University Co-Op Bookshop, Mt Erica Newsagency in Prahran and Collected Works in Fitzroy.

The issue featured more great artwork from Gavin Duffy.

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Below: The ‘Editorial* for Issue 5

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Below: Artwork by Gavin Duffy

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Below: Artwork – Unknown

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Below: Artwork by Gavin Duffy

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Below: Issue 4 Sold Out!

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Below: Contributors of Issue 4

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Peninsula Writing – #4 – 1985

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The fourth issue of Peninsula Writing appeared in 1985 and was the last of the illustrated covers from Gavin Duffy, an overview of a beach and perhaps Frankston Pier.

The issue featured stories by Pauline Rough, Donal Pritchard, Lynn Sunderland, Peter Murphy and grouped poems together for the first time. Poets included were Nancy Davison, Connie Barber, David Kerr, Karen Pridmore, David Turner and Shane McCauley.

In the reviews section I reviewed Geoffrey Dutton’s Snow on the Saltbush and Liam Davison reviewed James McQueen’s Uphill Runner

The issue featured artwork by Gavin Duffy and Marcus Batt.

The issue included an index of issues 1-4.

Below: Contents of Issue 4

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Below: Artwork by Gavin Duffy

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Below: Poem by David Turner, Artwork by Gavin Duffy

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Below: Artwork by Marcus Batt, Story opening by Donald Pritchard

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Below: Artwork by Gavin Duffy

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Below: Artwork by Marcus Batt, Review by Warrick Wynne

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Below: Artwork by Marcus Batt

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Below: Artwork by Marcus Batt

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Below: An index of Issues 1-4

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Peninsula Writing – #3 – 1984

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Issue 3 of Peninsula Writing featured another Mornington Peninsula icon, the McCrae Lighthouse on the cover, again by Gavin Duffy.

The issue featured writing from Roberts Dunstan, John Lewis, Phillip Edmonds, Shane Doheny, Ken Bradshaw, Jonathan Krause, Fiona Capp and Gwenda Healy.

In the reviews section Liam Davison reviewed The State of the Art The Mood of Contemporary Australia in Short Stories, Anne Williams reviewed The Tournament by Georgia Savage and I reviewed White Stag of Exile by Thomas Shapcott.

I feel that by this issue we were starting to get the hang of what the magazine should look like, and be. Neither Liam or I had published any of our creative writing in the magazine at this stage; we were both keen to try and establish it as a viable entity in its own right, not a vehicle for our own work.

Below: Contents of Issue 3

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Below: Artwork by Susanna. Review by Liam Davison

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Below: Fish and Chips story by Jonathan Krause. Artwork by Gavin Duffy. 

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Below: Artwork: Unknown

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Below: Artwork by Gavin Duffy

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Below: Artwork by Gavin Duffy, Story ‘A Different Monday’ by Roberts Dunstan

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Peninsula Writing – #2 – Spring 1983

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The second issue of Peninsula Writing came out in Spring 1983, featuring a vibrant orange-yellow cover, based loosely on the waves at Cape Schanck by Gavin Duffy.

The issue had a bit of a nautical theme from the cover on with the opening story A Struggling Brigantine by Joe Mann, poem called Petrel over Port Phillip Bay by Donald Whitelock, Mornington Peninsula Sketches by Fiona Capp and Human Being as Whale by Warren Breninger. A short story called The Barbeque by Archimede Fussillo, was another feature.

The issue also featured additional artwork by Phillip Mead and J.Lewis.

In the review section, I reviewed Geoff Page’s Shadows from Wire and David Malouf’s Fly Away Peter, Anne Williams reviewed The Strength of Tradition, edited by R.F.Holt and Liam Davison reviewed Victor Kelleher’s Africa and After.

Below: the editorial for Issue 2. See the issues we had with printing it black enough!

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Below: Contents page for Issue 2

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Below: Artwork by Gavin Duffy

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Below: Artwork by Gavin Duffy

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Below: Artwork by J. Lewis

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Below: Issue 2 centre pages: The Barbeque by Archimede Fusillo, artwork by Gavin Duffy

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Below: Artwork by Phillip Mead, Poem by David Turner

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Peninsula Writing – #1 – Winter 1983

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The first issue of Peninsula Writing came out in Winter, 1983, for the Mornington Peninsula which had ‘long been in need of an outlet for creative writing’. The manifesto was to provide a forum for writers from the Peninsula and beyond.

The first edition set the pattern for issues to follow: a terrific cover by Gavin Duffy, short stories, poetry, some reviews and some artwork and graphics, including some artwork by Phillip Mead. All for $3.75.

In that first edition there were stories by Margaret Pearce, Doug Shingleton, David Kerr, Valerie Albiston, J. Mann and poetry by Desmond Judge, John Goodall, Bruce Lundgren, Shane Doheny, Anne Parratt and Reece Caterson. I reviewed The Younger Australian Poets and Liam Davison reviewed The Plains by Gerald Murnane.

Below: the editorial for Issue 1

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Below: Contents for Issue 1

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Below: Pages 4-5 of Issue 1, featuring artwork by Philip Mead

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Below: Page 36-37, featuring art work by Phillip Mead and a story by Valerie Albiston

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Below: Pages 44 and 45. Poem by Reece Caterson, art work by Phillip Mead

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Peninsula Writing 1983-1985

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Issue #1 – 1983. $3.75

Doing some Autumn cleaning over the holidays I found lots of photos that I’d not originally considered good enough to make it into a photo album, but I wanted to keep.

Among them were some photos of Liam Davison and Gavin Duffy printing Peninsula Writing in the 1980s.

Peninsula Writing was a quartely local literary magazine that Liam, Gavin and I founded in 1983 to promote and foster creative writing on the Mornington Peninsula. Liam edited the prose, Gavin created the artwork, graphics and design, including five terrific coves and I edited the poetry. We all typed, stapled and folded. The little magazine featured poetry, prose and reviews and lasted five issues.

In some ways it was the very worst time to try to publish a magazine. No desktop publishing or laser printers, or internet, we typed the whole thing out by hand, made offset masters and printed it ourselves on an offset machine borrowed from the local church. Very hands on! We struggled with all the usual stuff; distribution, advertising, sponsorship and getting the damn type black enough! If only we’d waited a few short years …

I was a bit surprised that nothing much exists about this short-lived little magazine now. Not one image on Google Search, and no article anywhere I can find. It wasn’t ground-breaking historical stuff, but it was part of a little local movement and I think it deserves a little better than nothing.

So, I intend putting together a series of blog posts, one on each issue, with some scans, lists of contributors etc., just to put the record out there. For I feel it was something worthwhile.

Below: a break in the printing. Liam Davison, Gavin Duffy and Jackie Davison (Liam’s mum, who had access to the church offset printer)

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Below: Liam working the offset printer. We always struggled to get the print black enough.

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Below: Me with the first copy of ‘Peninsula Writing’

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