Entering the publishing industry can be a challenging prospect: the business model is questionable and there's a lot of established competition. Creating a successful magazine is especially impressive when it's done by a first-time publisher residing on a pecan farm in rural Australia, where one bar of internet reception is the norm. Yet, that's exactly what Annabelle Hickson has done with her triannual publication Galah (named after an Australian bird).
Annabelle launched the magazine in 2020 with a mission to tell modern stories from the bush, hoping to offer an upbeat counter to narratives of unemployment, struggling communities, drought and floods that often plague representations of rural Australia. Inspiration came to Annabelle, a native of Sydney and former news journalist, from her personal life after she fell in love and started a family in remote New South Wales.
‘Rural Australia became this place of vast opportunity for me when I gave it time. Now I've been here for 12 years and, everywhere I look, there are dynamic people taking advantage of what regional life affords,’ she says.
Annabelle was adamant that the title be ad-free, opting instead to cover costs through its price tag of AU$30. Its most recent edition comes in at 176 pages, full of stories and slices of life from across the nation, filed by a diverse network of regionally based Australian writers.
‘You can put together a quality magazine from a kitchen table on a pecan farm in remote Australia, all with very limited internet. I don't think I could have done this 20 years ago.
Technology means that the decentralized model is the here and now. I communicate with my team often – we're all scattered, but it works. No matter how “isolated” you may be, you're not really. These collaborative efforts are possible anywhere.’
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This special feature was first published in Courier issue 45, February/March 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.