What ever happened to "The Exhibition Punch"? (1878)

Front page of The Exhibition Punch, 23 August 1878. State Library of Queensland collection

Front page of The Exhibition Punch, 23 August 1878. State Library of Queensland collection

SLQ's collection contains numerous Queensland newspapers, magazines and other serials. Some of these publications ran for many, many years, while others fizzled out after a short run. A noteworthy example of a short-lived serial from our collection is The Exhibition Punch, which was published to coincide with the Brisbane Exhibition of 1878. The Exhibition Punch was very accurately described by the Brisbane Courier newspaper at the time -

"We have received the first two numbers of The Exhibition Punch, an advertising medium, to be distributed gratis during exhibition week, Punch scarcely bears out the traditions of that far-famed individual and is almost exclusively pictorial, the reading matter being reduced to the lowest possible point. Still there are two or three clever 'skits' in the sheet, and caricatures of public men are by no means bad, and in one case really excellent, viewed not only as a likeness, but as a well-executed drawing. The advertisers will have no reason to complain of want of conspicuousness of their announcements, for they are all in the most legible type, and very neatly put together. We hope the proprietor will find the venture successful." (BC, August 19, 1878)

Front cover of The Exhibition Punch, 22 August 1878. State Library of Queensland collection

Front cover of The Exhibition Punch, 22 August 1878. State Library of Queensland collection

Illustrated advertisement in The Exhibition Punch. State Library of Queensland collection

Illustrated advertisement in The Exhibition Punch. State Library of Queensland collection

State Library of Queensland holds 5 issues from 20th to 24th of August 1878. The issues very thin on content and seem to be merely dedicated to advertisements, however these advertisements are beautifully illustrated and each issue features a political cartoon near the main banner. It appears that The Exhibition Punch did not return for the Exhibition the following year in 1879.

Illustrated advertisements from The Exhibition Punch. State Library of Queensland collection

Illustrated advertisements from The Exhibition Punch. State Library of Queensland collection

The Exhibition Punch was produced by Francis Thomas Felix Keogh. According to his obituary, published in the Brisbane Courier in August 19, 1919, Keogh was, among other occupations, a bookseller and stationer. He also had the distinction of introducing the first steam lithographic printing machine in Brisbane. SLQ have digitised all five issues of The Exhibition Punch and can be viewed online through our One Search catalogue.

Myles Sinnamon - Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

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