Few Australian publications of the 1960s had a better international impact, or a greater social impact here in Australia, than the legendary Oz magazine.
Its publication in 1963 marked the real start of "The Sixties" in Australia, and when transplanted to London in 1967 it became one of the key underground publications of the era. Indeed, British author Jonathan Green has described the Oz 'Magic Theatre' edition as "perhaps the supreme example of the entire underground press".
Oz had two 'lives', one in Australia and one in Britian, and both versions were dogged by controversy, attacked by the Establishment and embroiled in famous legal battles,
culminating in the infamous Oz obscenity trial of 1971.
Oz was a focal point for many confrontations between progressive and conservative groups over a range of issues including the Vietnam War, drugs, the generation gap, censorship, sexuality, gender politics and rock music, and it was instrumental in bringing many of these concerns to wider public attention. Above all, it focussed public attention on the issue of free speech in democratic society, and on how far short of the ideal Australian and English society actually was at that time.
Through both its lives, the two key figures in Oz were editor and author Richard Neville and artist and cartoonist Martin Sharp, but the 'honour roll' of Oz alumni includes many famous names like Robert Hughes, Richard Walsh, Germaine Greer, Felix Dennis and Charles Shaar Murray.