under twenty-five – an anthology

In 1966, this anthology of stories, poems, photographs and illustrations was published by Jacaranda Press in Brisbane. It would have cost you $3.95 back then to become its owner.

under twenty-five

In the introduction, the editors (Anne O’Donovan, Jayne Sanderson and Shane Porteous) wrote

Young writers face one serious obstacle. They cannot find publishers unless their work is already known. Their work cannot become known until it is published. This paradox is often a daunting if not impenetrable barrier for the would-be author.

With UNDER TWENTY-FIVE we hope to break down this barrier. We advertised for material in October 1965 and by June 1966 we had received many thousands of contributions. This, our final selection, represents the best of young Australians’ writing, photography and illustration. And yet for most this is their first time in print.

JacarandaJacaranda Press was an exciting publication house in its infancy, before the inevitable absorption into bigger companies took place. Under the stewardship of founder Brian Clouston, these junior editors, also under the age of 25, curated a solid collection that includes early work of some of Australia’s most established and recognised authors. You may recognise Shane Porteous (actor, writer and animator) from this photograph on the inner sleeve. Anne O’Donovan went on to establish her own publishing company.

In this collage the detectives among you will spot Peter CareyRoger McDonaldRhyll McMasterAllan BaillieMurray Bail and Susan Geason.

Image 1These are excerpts from the biographical notes.

Peter Carey discovered at Monash University that science was not his career and has since worked in advertising. He … is working on a second novel. 

Murray Bail … writes every day and says that writing is his only real interest.

Allan Baillie is a twenty-three-year-old journalist from Melbourne, born in Ayrshire, Scotland. His ambitions lie in the world of newspapers. For some time now he has been in remote parts of Afghanistan en route to Europe.

Roger McDonald is twenty-five. … [He] joined the Australian Broadcasting Commission to produce radio and television programmes for schools. … He has achieved both publication and encouraging rejections from literary magazines.

Rhyll McMaster of Brisbane is eighteen. She is working at the University, and studying Arts part-time. Several of her poems have been published in the Bulletin. …. “Today It Rains” won first prize in a Queensland high schools competition. She intends to continue writing poetry.


In the minor book culls (perhaps trims is a better word) that take place at my place from time to time (almost never) this now historic volume will always be a keeper.

  1. No, you won’t spot me in the photographic collage, because I wasn’t in it. My story was accepted only at the 11th hour because my friend Alan Frost, the historian, discovered that I’d written a story and told Anne O’Donovan, who decided to put it in. And you’re right; it is rather fun reading through it (my story was atrocious) and seeing who later made it and who disappeared without a trace.

    • Hello Susan. Thanks for putting this straight. My photo-matching skills fell short! Do you mind if I add your comment into the body of the text to correct the record?

      Many thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: