Albert Sebastian magazine

Category: teen-oriented popular magazine

Date: Sep. 1966 - Feb? 1968

Location: Melbourne, Vic.

Publishers: Johann Publications
(Andrew  Theophanous, Joseph Zayda, George Koumpan)


Probably the most obscure Australian "pop" magazine of the 1960s, Albert Sebastian was a shortlived rival to Go-Set. It was established in Melbourne by Andrew  Theophanous, Joseph Zayda and George Koumpan and the first issue was published in September 1966. It was clearly intended as a competitor to the famous "teens and twenties" weekly. Both magzines were printed by the same company, Waverley Offset, but Albert Sebastian was printed in a quarto format, while Go-Set was in tabloid format.

Because of its title, Albert Sebastian was long been thought to have been linked to the famous Sebastian's discotheque in Exhibition Street, Melbourne (operated by the Knight family) but according to photographer Jim Colbert, who briefly worked for the publication, any formal connection between the magazine and the discotheque had been severed well before the first edition was published.

Colbert, who subsequently worked with Go-Set, was approached to take photographs for the new publication by "Andrew Charles" (aka Andrew Theophanous), a Monash University Philosophy student who was one of the founders of the magazine. Theophanous went on to become a long-serving Member of Parliament (1980-2001) first with the ALP, then as an independent, but his political career ended ca. 2000 and he was convicted and jailed in 2002 on charges of bribery and fraud relating to visa applications. He is the brother of serving Victorian state government minister Theo Theophanous.

Jim Colbert was employed by the magazine for about three or four months before going over to Go-Set in early January 1967. Many of the photos in the magazine were taken by Colbert, Ric Hawkins and Geoff Davidson, who was the main editorial contributor. Colbert says that no one was paid for their services and that he doesn't remember seeing the magazine on the streets after he went to work at Go-Set. Early in 1967 the magazine ran a competition to win a date with The Loved Ones.

The new publication evidently struggled to find an audience and it folded after only thirteen issues; the last issue came out around Feb. 1968. Original copies are now extremely rare and it appears that no Australian library has a complete set -- Monash University Library has a copy of Issue 3 (pictured above) and the State Library of Victoria has copies of Issues 1, 8, 11 and 13. The SLV's catalogue states that publication data is sketchy because some issues lack numbering and most are undated.

References / Links

Jeffery Turnbull
"What Was Go-Set?"

Music Australia

State Library of Victoria

Monash University Library