bc PALS, the Australian Boys' and Girls' Storypaper of the 1920s, similar to CHUMS.
The Australian Boys' and Girls'
Storypaper of the 1920s,
similar to CHUMS

The beginning of information
on this icon of Australian juvenile fiction.

Just ONE page on the Collecting Books and Magazines web site based in Australia.

Page updated 2nd July, 2014..

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From PALS, April 10, 1926 Was this the first published retrospective on Aussie 'Old Boys'?

By Donald Barr

When I was a boy, more than 25 years ago, there was no paper like Pals printed in Australia. Boys read imported papers, and "penny dreadfuls," and I must confess that I was no wiser than my school chums as regards the latter class of “literature”.

Of the English papers, our favourite was Ching Ching's Own, edited by E. Harcourt Burrage. "The Best for Boys" was its main title, but we always called it "Ching Ching's”. Thrilling yarns of adventure and school life, from the pen of the editor, were the great feature of this boy's paper. Its other features were of minor interest to us, excepting the Editor's own column, which was worth reading and thinking over too, as a rule!

In those days of my youth, I fancy, boys read more than do you lads of today. We had more leisure, perhaps, and fewer attractions at night-no cinema shows, remember, no wireless, and few games. How we would have welcomed a "paper of our own," like Pals! Mind you, we enjoyed the English journals, but there was lacking the real link between Editor and readers. The Editor was overseas, and naturally, he catered for boys of the British Isles, mainly, though in the correspondence column occasionally, appeared the names of readers "in the colonies."

Ching Ching was our hero, and we liked his chums, too; following with keen interest their adventures, funny and impossible, as related In "The Best for Boys." When young Ching appeared on the scene, we were mightily pleased. In Pals last week you will find a portrait of this bright youngster, his proud parent, and another member of the Ching Ching group. Young Ching is shown in a ludicrous position, he was always getting into scrapes, and predicaments were all in the game.

Alliteration was very popular in the days of "Ching Ching's Own". I'll quote the titles of a few of the serials that we read with such avidity: "Steady Steele", "The Two Tartars", "Mat May", "Doomed to Dishonor”, “Handsome Harry". Ching Ching himself was the hero of many tales. The Best for Boys Library contained such titles as "Ching Ching and His Chums", "Cheerful Ching Ching", "Wonderful Ching Ching", etc.

Turning from periodicals to the "dreadfuls", I recall with a smile, the hectic covers of "Deadwood Dicks"-a series recording the adventures of superhuman heroes. It is strange to think that these productions, for which boys paid a penny apiece many years ago, are now so rare that they sell for a guinea each ,and more. Mr J.P. Quaine, the bookseller, of South Yarra (Vic.), has a fine collection of old time boys' periodicals, "Deadwood Dicks”, etc. A number of "old boys" collect these publications as curiosities. In England "Deadwood Dicks", the genuine old originals, are in brisk demand, and the competition of collectors has made prices soar. Mr Quaine showed me recently a bound volume of 'Deadwoods”, about a dozen or 20 numbers, for which he had been offered 25! He showed me also a copy of the first "young folks" magazine published in England, a century ago, a very dull collection of essays, etc., but a real curiosity.

The boys' papers of the past would not suit the tastes of the majority of boys of the present, who demand thrilling yarns indeed, but not of the kind that pleased their parents, maybe. They would smile at a hero called "Handsome Harry" or "Generous Jack"-too much like "Weary Willy". "Dreadfuls" are still published, but Australian boys whom I have met, and I've met hundreds-don't read them. The Wild West has lost much of its charm, too. Wonder stories, in this age of wonders, of wireless and aeroplanes, are more in young Australia's line. These, and stirring adventure tales, and yarns of school life, with plenty of ginger in them; but far removed from the "dreadful."

Pals who may happen to possess old-timers-discovered in the lumber room, or forgotten chests, perhaps should look them over. Specimens that a collector would be glad to purchase may be lying among piles of printed rubbish. You never know your luck. A friend of mine once bought for sixpence, in a second hand bookseller's shop, a pamphlet worth 5. I've come across a few bargains myself, but nothing so good as this pamphlet.#

The above was scanned, so there could be some errors; please let me know if you find any.


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