Banned Books Week: Love Illustrated, Rona’s War, and Hansard 37

I’m working in a library at the moment, so here’s three quick stories for Banned Books Week, the US-led celebration of our freedom to read what we want.

Materials from Rona Joyner's STOP campaign - via State Library of Queensland
Materials from Rona Joyner’s STOP campaign – via State Library of Queensland

These all come from the research of the State Library of Queensland’s resident banned book specialist, Joan Bruce.

Love Illustrated No.9

The Queensland Literature Board of Review was formed in 1954, and banned forty-seven publications in its first year of operation.

Right at the top of the list was this romance comic, Love Illustrated No.9:

ctuwh_jviaeiqge

 

Queensland censors felt that “even outwardly ‘harmless’ comics” would have a “generally unfortunate effect on the child mind”:

These help to cause mental laziness, can have a narrowing effect on the mind at a period of life when the mental horizons should be expanding and destroy self-expression, have a bad effect on speech construction, and create a false sense of values by causing amusement from actions which are unkind and untrue.

The State Library of Queensland’s Joan Bruce speculates on the reasons that Love Illustrated No. 9 was so offensive, and tells more about the state’s “Objectionable Literature” legislation here.

Rona’s War

Doesn’t Rona Joyner look sweet?

Rona Joyner, photographed by Russell Shakespeare for Q Weekend in 2011
Rona Joyner, photographed by Russell Shakespeare for Q Weekend in 2011

In the 1970s and 1980s, Rona Joyner was infamous as a campaigner against social education courses and literature which she saw as “un-Christian and subversive” – including The Old Man and the Sea and To Sir With Love.

Among the courses she managed to ban were MACOS, a study course based on the work of psychologist Jerome Bruner. MACOS apparently included games based on reindeer migration and an activity where students divided up a paper seal in the manner of a Netsilik Inuit ritual.

Joan Bruce, once again, has the full story of Rona’s war here.

Hansard 37

Not all book-banning and censorship is about prurience.

Queensland Hansard 37 was published in 1917, as the record of the proceedings of the third session of the Queensland Parliament.

At the time, Prime Minister Billy Hughes was pushing hard for the right to conscript Aussies into World War 1. He was opposed by Queensland Premier T.J. Ryan.

In a parliamentary debate, Ryan spoke out against attempts by the Federal government to censor objections to conscription – so the Prime Minister directed his censor, Captain Joseph Stable, to confiscate all copies of Hansard with a record of Ryan’s speech.

ctv0fegusaaqxfi

Queensland police prevented Stable from entering the State Government Printing Office, so the censor went to Victoria Barracks and returned with a troop of armed soldiers.

At this point, Ryan evidently thought better of pitting his own cops against Commonwealth soldiers, and the censor was granted entry. All but three copies of Hansard 37 were destroyed.

Billy Hughes didn’t get away with it, though.

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Nov 1917
Sydney Morning Herald “Action in Queensland” – via Trove

You can find the documents via the State Library’s Stable Collection – and there’s a good account of the story here.

Happy Banned Books Week!

One thought on “Banned Books Week: Love Illustrated, Rona’s War, and Hansard 37

  • It’s a good one! 🙂

    http://www.martacabral.com Columbia University Teachers College Art&ArtEducation Program + Rita Gold Early Childhood Center

    On Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 11:37 AM, The Signal in Transition wrote:

    > booksadventures posted: “I’m working in a library at the moment, so here’s > three quick stories for Banned Books Week, the US-led celebration of our > freedom to read what we want. These all come from the research of the State > Library of Queensland’s resident banned book speciali” >

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s