Style guide for Australiana magazine

Australiana is published quarterly in February, May, August and November. Please contact the editor to discuss your proposed submission or send a brief outline or draft. You can submit articles at any time, but if you want it in a specific issue then contact the editor to check space availability and deadline.

Submissions should be topical, original and well-illustrated. We prefer articles from 500 to 2,500 words, although we consider longer articles. Material taken from another source must be referenced, with direct quotes in quotation marks. The editor may consult other authorities and referees.

Typically, you need to submit three things, preferably all in digital format:

  1. Text, with a short author biography, acknowledgements and notes
  2. Images of good quality, hi-res, copyright-cleared for publication and numbered consecutively (1,2,3 ...). It is essential they are numbered consecutively so we can match them up with the digital image files, text and captions.
  3. Captions numbered consecutively to match the images.

We cannot change it once it is in print so the editor will help you improve your contribution. Where required, articles may be peer-reviewed, when we seek the advice of other experts in the field. We can be flexible in interpreting the "rules" below, but we try to be consistent.

  1. We prefer text in digital format.  Save text and captions in Microsoft Word on disc, memory stick or email to

  2. Formatting: keep formatting simple. The editor will edit and re-format your article. Our designer will lay out your article, so you do not need to design it yourself. You may send a document with embedded images for use as a guide to image placement if you wish, but embedded images are rarely suitable for reproduction.

  3. Writing style: use active rather than passive voice, simple rather than complex words, descriptive rather than vague adjectives, and avoid meaningless expressions and circumlocutions (eg avoid "general public", "it is generally believed" and  "it is interesting to note that"). Please don't use words that make us run to the dictionary every few lines, but if they are technical terms, explain them. Use contemporary English, never archaic words and construction (except in quotes).

  4. Print-outs: are necessary only if you cannot send digital text in Word. We can scan a high quality printout. Number the pages and keep a copy.

  5. Spaces: use single not double spaces between sentences. MS Word compensates for sentence breaks.

  6. Italics: italicise titles of works of art, ship's names, book titles, periodical titles and technical terms in a foreign language. You may also use italics for emphasis.

  7. Quotations: use double quotation marks for direct quotes, and for quotations within them use single single quotation marks. All quotations should be acknowledged in the notes. 

  8. Dates: use the form "day month year" e.g. 4 July 1776. In notes, shorten months (Jan, Feb, etc). Spell the name of the century in full at the start of a sentence, e.g. Nineteenth century, elsewhere use a numeral, e.g. 19th century. In an adjectival context insert a hyphen, e.g. "19th-century potters".

  9. Ellipses: show an ellipsis by three dots e.g. "Verge's… splendid architraves".

  10. Notes: use "endnotes" in Word to give sources or to add peripheral but relevant information. Number endnotes consecutively 1,2,3... and place at the end of the text; please use automatic endnote numbering so numbers adjust when we add or delete notes. Superscript note numbers in the text should follow punctuation. Avoid too many and long footnotes, and don't use them just to look pseudo-academic. We check random references for accuracy so please copy quotes precisely and give the full reference, with page number.

  11. References: use these formats:
    Books: John Hawkins, Nineteenth-century Australian Silver, Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1990, vol 1 p 234.
    Articles: Dorothy Erickson, "Mattie Furphy -dainty but determined", Australiana, vol 38 no 1 Feb 2016 pp 9-13.
    Manuscripts: Give the title of the manuscript, name of the institution and reference number, e. g. Philip Gidley King, "Letter Book 1797-1806", Mitchell Library A2015.
    Subsequent references
    : use appropriate Latin abbreviations op cit, ibid, etc.

  12. Numbers: write numbers up to ten in full, and for higher numbers use Arabic numerals, e.g. "from seven to 16 books", except when starting a sentence. Use a comma to separate 1,000s.

  13. Names: give first names and surnames at first mention. Omit full stops and insert a space between initials in names, thus Rev J D Lang not Rev. J. D. Lang, unless it's a direct quote.

  14. Abbreviations: generally omit full stops e.g. nos, vols, Dr, St (saint or street), but we are not as dogmatic nor extreme as the AGPS Style Manual.

  15. Measurements: SI measurement units are expressed as symbols not abbreviations. They are always singular with no full stops eg 15 km, cm, kg, never kms, cms, kgs. Imperial equivalent symbols may follow in brackets eg 4 kg (8.8 lb), also singular; lbs is a nonsense - a Latin word (libra) with an s suffix is not a plural.

  16. Spelling: Set your spellcheck to "English (Australian)".
     -ise not -ize
     among, while not amongst, whilst
     -yse not -yze
     program not programme

  17. Symbols: you will find symbols such as £ and accented letters under "Insert/Symbol" in Word.

  18. General: if in doubt, check the Australian Government Publishing Service's latest Style Manual, which we sometimes follow.


Please provide a brief acknowledgement of those who have helped you, for example with typing, research or providing photographs. Fulsome praise or thanking your family is generally unnecessary.


Provide a concise biography that is relevant to Australiana readers, a contact email address so readers can get in touch (they do) and a portrait photograph. Your biography may be edited.


  1. Good images are critical, should complement the text and usually be referenced in the text. We print in colour; if the story relies on black and white images, we will try to add good colour images to make it more interesting visually.

  2. We prefer digital images taken directly of the original, shot in good light with a clean background. Images that are too small, of poor quality or with strong contrasts are generally unsuitable. Camera photographs are generally preferable to phone snaps.That said, our designer can enhance images by digital manipulation in Photoshop.

  3. Digital images should be supplied by email, on disc or memory stick, or through download services (eg Hightail, Sendspace, Digital Pigeon, Dropbox). Jpegs are easier to send than tiffs, as they are smaller files. We print images at 300 dpi.

  4. Number images consecutively 1, 2, 3 ... This is essential so we can match up text, images and captions. Avoid suffixes unless you are showing two sides of a coin or medal, in which case you can use a and b. 

  5. Show the correct orientation of the image if "top" is not clear.

  6. Contributors are responsible for obtaining photographs, for permission to reproduce them and for reproduction fees. The editor can often help to get images, or extra images. The vast majority of private collectors, dealers, auction houses and institutions are helpful and generous in supporting scholarship and supplying images free to Australiana, but a very few are not; check with the editor.


Captions are essential and should include these details, where applicable, in this order:
  • Number (1, 2, 3,...) of the image - corresponding to the image file name (just rename them by adding 1, 2, 3 ... etc before the existing file name)
  • Names of the maker and his/her dates in brackets if known eg John Glover (1767-1849)
  • Title (in italics), place of manufacture, date, medium (eg oil on canvas), size in cm (h x w x d)
  • Collection, location and registration number, eg Collection: National Library of Australia, Canberra 1322499
  • Photo credit, eg "photograph Geoff Friend". Special wording generally applies only to the monarch, eg "by Gracious Permission of Her Majesty the Queen".


We send authors successive proofs for checking, usually by email as pdf files. Ideally, make them on the pdf file as post-it notes by using the "Edit PDF" function in Acrobat Reader (a free download). Otherwise, print a hard copy and make your suggestions on that and mail or scan it, or if there are only a few, send an email with the changes. After each revision, you will get a new version to check. You will always get a final version.


  1. Australiana does not pay author fees. We give authors several free copies of the magazine, and authors may purchase bulk copies at a cost determined by the committee.

  2. Include your name, email, phone number and contact address.

  3. After publication, photographs and discs will be returned only if requested.

Revised 19 Sep 2018