Xavier Herbert, Journalist?


In Disturbing Element (1963) Xavier Herbert presents a colourful account of his entry into the world of journalism in Melbourne in 1925. Here he supposedly anonymously published 'a couple of articles' attacking pharmacists for being mercenary shopkeepers in 'a weekly newspaper given to such unconsidered criticism'. He claims to have followed this up by attempting to supply items on 'heredity, hormones and psychotherapy' for the 'dailies', apparently unsuccessfully, if his evasive allusion to the lack of interest of 'editors' is any guide. More sensationally still, he informs us that he began to write about medical fraud, melodramatically exposing a 'nest of quacks' for 'another weekly paper, one with a national circulation and headquarters in another capital'. (This must refer to Smith's Weekly.) Although put on a 'retainer of £5 per week' and promised generous payment for the story, Herbert affects to have been devastated to discover that his item was published under 'the name of the local editor'. When Herbert reportedly submitted a piece on Melbourne University's high-profile Professor of Anatomy (complete with caricature) to the same editor for the regular 'Man of the Moment' ['Man of the Week'] feature, he was rewarded with 'fifteen shillings for the idea [sic]' (see Disturbing Element 251-62).

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Published 1 May 1993 in Volume 16 No. 1. Subjects: Journalism, Journalists, Xavier Herbert.

Cite as: De Groen, Frances. ‘Xavier Herbert, Journalist?.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, 1993, doi: 10.20314/als.09f0b0f1e2.