Tharunka is a student newspaper published at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Established in 1953 at the then New South Wales University of Technology, Tharunka has been published in a variety of forms by various student organisations. At present, Tharunka is published 10 times a year by Arc @ UNSW Limited. The name Tharunka means "message stick" in a Central Australian Aboriginal language.

Until 1980, Tharunka was a weekly newspaper, switching to a fortnightly magazine format from 1981. In 2004 and 2005, Tharunka returned to a tabloid newspaper format. From 2005 publication became less frequent, and in 2006, Tharunka returned to a magazine format.

Tharunka was published by the UNSW Students Union from 1953 until 1992, when that body was replaced by the University of New South Wales Student Guild. The Guild published Tharunka from 1993 until 2006, before the organisation was scrapped. A new student organisation, Arc @ UNSW Limited, took over publication of Tharunka from 2007.

Tharunka is managed by a small staff and a wider group of volunteers. Including staff wages, the publication's budget is under $100,000 per year.


The content of Tharunka varies year to year in line with the priorities of student politicians, the editors and the wider contributor base. Tharunka's at times irreverant approach has seen copies seized by police, destroyed by political opponents and censored by the student organisation.

It is traditional for a parody edition of Tharunka to be released as part of the university's annual Foundation Day celebrations. News satire is a regular feature of the publication.


As the journal of a political organisation, Tharunka's editorial direction is often influenced by the dominant faction within the student body at the time. Where the editors have distanced themselves from the agenda of student representatives, conflict has been the result. A plan by then editor Michael Shane to devote an issue to coverage of issues facing men was met with fierce resistance by the Student Guild's governing council in 2000. Rules were enacted to give the Guild women's department a right of veto over content.

In November 2004, the Guild was attacked by Daily Telegraph columnist Michael Duffy for attempting to prevent the expression of support for voluntary student unionism at UNSW. "Student politics is still notoriously corrupt and secretive," Duffy wrote, reporting that "the editors of the student union magazine Tharunka, have been told by the Guild Council ... not to publish articles in support of voluntary unionism.

Other student media at UNSW

Tharunka is one of a number of periodicals that have emerged from the university.

  • Blitz is a weekly campus events guide that evolved from newsletters circulated by the University of New South Wales Union in the 1970s. The name "Blitz" was adopted in mid-1988. In mid-1994, the Union introduced more editorial material to Blitz, hiring former Tharunka editor Alf Conlon to expand the range of content. Blitz and Tharunka are now both published by Arc.
  • Students at the university's College of Fine Arts produced regular zines under the titles Xerox Positive, and since 2005, Zing Tycoon.
  • Tharunka contributors were instrumental in the establishment of The Student Leader in 2004.


Year Volume Editions Format Parody cover Editors Organisation
1975 21 28 Newspaper Vicki Wootten and Brian Robins Student Union
1976 22 28 Newspaper Women's Weekly (Women's Weekly) Steven Raper, Bradley Wynne, Olga Prokopvich and Geoff Turnbull Student Union
1977 23 Newspaper Student Union
1978 24 28 Newspaper Benthouse (Penthouse) Juliette Sterne, Colin Israel and Gary Ross Student Union
1979 25 28 Newspaper Kids' Stuff Bruce Bradbury, Nicolette Dillon, Maryella Hatfield, Jeff Holten, Graeme Tubbenhauer Student Union
1980 26 27 Newspaper Teresa Music, Bob Sheil, Bill McMahon and Stewart Lehr Student Union
1981 27 14 Magazine Eric Campbell, David Gibson, Ruth Hessey and Frances McDonald Student Union
1982 28 The National Slimes (The National Times) John Amy and Hector Hill Student Union
1983 29 15 Magazine Bradley Norington and Alex Cramb Student Union
1984 30 13 Magazine Wendy Carlisle, Alastair Walton, Susan Smith, Mark Cahill Student Union
1985 31 15 Magazine Helen Doyle, Tim Menzies, Isabelle Albert, Jan Bellis, David Cox, John Olip, Gordon Farrer, Kay Heycox Student Union
1986 32 14 Magazine The Drug Expensive (parody of Australian federal government "Drug Offensive" information kit) Jan Bellis, Robert Cook, David Cox, Gordon Farrer, Jim Gleeson, Kay Heycox, Vicki Lee, Tim Menzies, John Olip, Michael Priest Student Union
1987 Magazine Greed Weekend (Good Weekend) James Adams, Jan Bellis, Gordon Farrer, Phillipa McGuinness, Toni Payne, Marisa Turanzas, Carol Walsh, Sherman Young Student Union
1988 Up the TV Creek (TV Week); Bastard Review Weekly (Business Review Weekly) James Adams, Frank Blanchfield, Jacinta Crimmins, Rowena Ivins, Gita Kemath, Joanne Mazzocchi, Paul Morehouse, Phillip Morrissey, Tim Nelson, Peter Rankin Student Union
1989 Student Union
1990 36 14 Magazine Golly (Dolly) Student Union
1991 37 14 Magazine The Spew Age Angus Crosby, Catriona Mackenzie, Elisia Yeo, Mary O'Connell, Nicos Souleles, Patrizia Montanari, Yvonne y Hoare Student Union
1992 38 14 Magazine Who Cares? (Who magazine) Thomas Tork, James Hooke, Daniel Grynberg, Annie Tennant, Sascha Kelso, Tara Gutman, Robi Stanton, Melissa McGrath, Alf Conlon, Nicos Souleles, Elias Hallaj Student Union
1993 39 Magazine Stuart Guinness, Alf Conlon and Yaron Finkelstein Student Guild
1994 40 14 Magazine The Fake Amanda Pullinger and Andy Cook Student Guild
1995 41 13 Magazine The Typograph Error (The Telegraph Mirror) Pauly Wall and David Caspari Student Guild
1996 42 14 Magazine Piss Weakend (Good Weekend) Dale Harrison and Katie Kemm Student Guild
1997 43 14 Magazine Crawling Home (Rolling Stone) Raj Khuman and Andrew Martin Student Guild
1998 44 Magazine Philip Choi and Edward Carroll Student Guild
1999 45 14 Magazine Weekly UNSW News (Weekly World News) Christian Harimanow Student Guild
2000 46 14 Magazine Weekly UNSW News (Weekly World News) Michael Shane Korogiannis and Marta Jary Student Guild
2001 47 10 Magazine The Gorgeous Edition (Hello! Magazine) Michelle Carmody and Nick Salzberg Student Guild
2002 48 Magazine Ben's Health (Men's Health) Anthony Levin and Alex Tyrell Student Guild
2003 49 13 Magazine Nude Scientist (New Scientist) Calen Thurston Student Guild
2004 50 17 Newspaper Foundation Day-Mart (Kmart) Joe Stella and Kathryn Small Student Guild
2005 51 Newspaper Bowling Stoned (Rolling Stone) Christine Tran Student Guild
2006 52 Magazine Homeboy (Playboy) Mansha Tandon and Patrick Coyte Student Guild
2007 53 10 Magazine Notional Geographic (National Geographic) Sophie Braham and Tom Bowes Arc @ UNSW
2008 54 10 Magazine Chantel Cotterell, Chris Moore, Mirza Nurkic, Rory Thomas and Scarlet Wilcock Arc @ UNSW


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