Nov 29, 2015 Last Updated 11:39 PM, Nov 25, 2015

Thirty years of Inside Indonesia

Thirty years of Inside Indonesia
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Jemma Purdey and Thushara Dibley

The first edition featuring Gen. Benny Murdani, November 1983

This year Inside Indonesia celebrates its 30th anniversary. It is a wonderful milestone, no doubt unforeseen by founders Pat Walsh and John Waddingham when they published its first edition, with Max Lane in the editor’s chair, in November 1983. Since then 111 quarterly editions of Inside Indonesia have been published and, since going completely online in 2007, new articles also appear weekly.

As it was in the beginning, so the vision and mission of Inside Indonesia remains today; a commitment to raising awareness about the diversity of Indonesian society, and about the struggles of those Indonesians who aim to achieve greater democracy, human rights, gender and racial equality, tolerance and environmental sustainability. We do this by publishing high-quality articles by experts, researchers and practitioners in the field. Some things, however, have changed, not least of these the end of the New Order’s autocratic rule in whose midst the magazine was born, replaced by a largely stable albeit flawed democracy.

Our readership has changed too…and also stayed the same. Many of the subscribers to the printed magazine in the 1980s and 1990s are now among the 3500 subscribers receiving the e-magazine in their inboxes and reading it on their tablets and smartphones. The biggest change however, is in the demographic of our readership. Where once Inside Indonesia needed to be posted to subscribers in Indonesia in unmarked brown envelopes and where one copy was passed around from reader to reader, today the largest percentage of our readers are indeed inside Indonesia – over 20 per cent, just a fraction larger than our Australian readership, followed by the United States and then the rest of the world. Our readers follow us on Facebook and Twitter and through these and other channels the Inside Indonesia website receives between 3000-4000 visitors a week.

Over the coming year we will be publishing a series of articles to celebrate all of those people who have helped sustain Inside Indonesia until today. This series will document some of the key events and memories which have been part of the magazine’s history, contemplate how things have changed since Inside Indonesia began and reflect on the role the magazine may play into the future. This series of articles, written by the movers and shakers of Inside Indonesia over these 30 years, will also consider the changing impact on the magazine of issues including the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship, Timor Leste, media freedoms, political reform and much more. Throughout 2013 we will also delve into the Inside Indonesia archive to bring you some of the best articles, interviews and reviews from across the decades.

As we launch into our series of articles, we hope that you, our valued readers, will also participate in celebrating the achievements of Inside Indonesia with us. Please feel free to share our articles on Facebook, Tweet about what is written or leave a comment on the articles. We are also planning a celebration event in Melbourne later in the year – watch this space. All will be most welcome!

Finally, we need to acknowledge the central role that our volunteers, contributors and readers have played in cultivating and sustaining Inside Indonesia over the years. The magazine operates entirely on voluntary labour and is funded primarily by donations. Without our core group of editors, web managers, those who take the time to write and, of course without our valued readers, Inside Indonesia would simply not exist. Thank you to everyone who has helped make the magazine what it is – we look forward to celebrating our 30th anniversary year with you.

Selamat membaca!

Jemma Purdey ( is Chair of the Inside Indonesia Board; Thushara Dibley ( is a Board member, editor and web manager for Inside Indonesia.


Inside Indonesia 111: Jan-Mar 2013

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Lontar Modern Indonesia



A selection of stories from the Indonesian classics and modern writers, periodically published free for Inside Indonesia readers, courtesy of Lontar

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30th Anniversary Book

Inside Indonesia - 30th Anniversary Photo Book


Have you bought your copy of Inside Indonesia's 30th Anniversary book yet?

The book features 30 of the judges' favourite images from the 2013 Inside Indonesia Photography Competition.

Preview the book  and order your copy online (Soft cover approx AUD$23.00 / Hard cover approx AUD$35.00).