Jackson, Alice (1887–1974)

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Jackson, Alice (1887–1974)

Australian journalist. Born Alice Archibald on October 15, 1887, in Ulmarra, New South Wales; died on October 28, 1974; one of eight children of William Archibald (a schoolteacher) and Clara Amelia (Baker) Archibald; married Samuel Henry Jackson (an accountant and businessman); children: one daughter; one son.

One of Australia's leading magazine editors in the early 20th century, Alice Jackson was a schoolteacher in the years before her marriage to Samuel Henry Jackson, with whom she had two children. She began her career in journalism by contributing short stories and feature articles to several major newspapers in Sydney, including the Bulletin and Triad. Her early years also included a stint on the staff of the Sunday Times and as editor of the women's page at the Telegraph. In 1933, Jackson joined the newly established Australian Women's Weekly, becoming editor in 1939. By some accounts, she actually took over the job in 1934, when editor George Warnecke left on an extended trip overseas. Under Jackson, the Weekly—a blend of service features, fiction, and news—grew to command Australia's largest readership.

Jackson added heft to the paper's regular mix of food, fashion, beauty, child care, and fiction, with features on distinguished women, including sports figures. She also covered the more controversial issues of her day, such as women's problems in marriage and in the workplace, and the refusal of the Chief Protector of Aborigines to permit an Aboriginal woman to marry the man of her choice. During the war, the paper devoted many of its pages to the women on the home front, but in an effort to bring the war closer to her readers, Jackson also toured army camps, including operational areas in New Guinea. Following the war, the Weekly took a more glamorous turn, though Jackson retained an edge with an occasional controversial article, such as the one advising the textile industry that they might be able to remedy their labor shortages by establishing a policy of equal pay.

In 1950, under increasing pressure from new owners, Jackson left the Weekly to start Woman's Day and Home, a Melbourne-based paper owned by Keith Murdoch. The formula that had served her so well in the past, however, was no longer successful, and she resigned after a year and returned to Sydney. One of her last jobs was in public relations, doing promotions for a fashionable restaurant. When Alice Jackson died in October 1974, her status as one of Australia's greatest magazine editors had long been ignored.


Radi, Heather, ed. 200 Australian Women. NSW, Australia: Women's Redress Press, 1988.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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