First Macedonian Newspaper in Australia Reprinted Online
By Victor Bivell
The first Macedonian newspaper published in Australia, Makedonska Iskra or Macedonian Spark, is now being reprinted and made available online in a major historical project by Pollitecon Publications.
Makedonska Iskra was published from 1946 to 1957. A monthly with national distribution, it commenced in Perth and later moved to Melbourne and Sydney.
Victor Bivell, publisher with Pollitecon Publications, said the newspaper was published at a time of great historical significance for the Macedonian people as the future Republic of Macedonia had been formed within Yugoslavia and the Greek Civil War had begun.
The newspaper is now a record of key international events that shaped the Macedonian nation and of the many people and events within the Macedonian community in Australia. The more than 100 editions of the newspaper contain the names of thousands of immigrant Macedonians, many of them recorded as part of the news of the day and many others in numerous long lists of people who donated to significant Macedonian fund raising events.
The reprinting of the newspaper online provides a massive new and free resource for the Macedonian community in Australia and internationally, and should be of interest to Macedonians wishing to learn more about their families and friends as well as to historians and students.
The newspaper is accessible to most Macedonians including those unfamiliar with the Cyrillic alphabet as it is written in Latinitsa and has numerous English sections.
Among many stories, the first edition has an update on the civil war and independence movement in Greece, fund raising for a much-needed hospital in Skopje, and the first Conference of the Macedonian National Council of Australia.
One of the founders of the newspaper, well known Macedonian community leader Michael Veloskey, said the newspaper was founded by Edinstvo (Unity) and the Macedonian Peoples League of Australia with the assistance of many people, among them: in Perth the editor Laurie Malco and Kiro Angelkoff and assistants Mr Veloskey himself, Stojan Sarbinoff and Naum Sharin; and in Melbourne Risto Altin and Stojche Stojcheff. Many other people also made a big contribution over the years, said Mr Veloskey.
Mr Veloskey said the launch of the newspaper was at a very exciting time for the Macedonian community in Australia. The newspaper provided the immigrants, who at that stage were mostly from Aegean Macedonia, with news from the home country and the war, and there was a great expectation among the Macedonian people that they would finally achieve a free homeland.
The newspaper also provided much needed reading material in the Macedonian and English languages.
Mr Bivell said Pollitecon Publications is proud to begin reprinting Makedonska Iskra. The first two editions, October and November 1946 are now available online at www.pollitecon.com and then under Reprints.
Further editions will be uploaded regularly, but with about 100 editions this is a long term project, said Mr Bivell.
The only missing editions are September and October 1950, January 1953, and June and December 1955. Anyone with copies of these editions should contact Pollitecon Publications on 02 9713 7608.
Published in Australian Macedonian Weekly June 7, 2005