POL was a monthly magazine that was first published by Gareth Powell Publishing in Australia in the late 1960s. It is considered to have played an important role in raising awareness of the status of women, and established new standards in terms of content, design and photography.
In March-May 2003, the Australian National Portrait Gallery in Old Parliament House, Canberra held a retrospective of POL magazine which it called Portrait of a Generation. A catalog was published for the occasion with an introduction which said:
POL magazine was a perfect fit for its time. The magazine first appeared in Sydney in 1968, produced by Gareth Powell, an eccentric, entrepreneurial British publisher who knew, above anything else, how to employ talented people and give them the freedom to work. POL quickly came to reflect a changing Australia that had been radicalised by the sixties.
Gareth Powell has been quoted as saying that the name POL stood for nothing, and was chosen by the magazine's first editor, Richard Walsh, because it was short and lent itself to bad puns in headlines.
A major influence on the style of the magazine was the photographic and design team that had started with Chance International, one of the early men's magazines in Australia. The photographers were among the best that Australia had produced, and they were given the opportunity with both POL and Chance to choose the photographs used and to decide how they should be displayed. No other magazine in Australia at that time allowed that sort of involvement by the creative staff.
The only person who was kept well away from the creative process was the publisher and owner, Gareth Powell. He knew printing - and POL set new standards in that area for Australia - and he knew publishing. But the editorial content of the magazine was, in its earliest and finest days, totally under the control of Richard Walsh and a team which contained many of the great editorial talents of Australia. Guest editors included Germaine Greer (1972) and Richard Neville (1974).
After Richard Walsh's departure, Arnold Earnshaw took over as editor of POL for eight months. Between 1977 and 1984 the magazine was edited by Robin Ingram who was responsible for recruiting Don Dunstan to act as guest editor, a role he performed from May 1980 for just under a year. David Leigh, who won several international graphic design awards, was Pol's Art Director for a decade from the mid 70s.POL ceased publication in 1986.