ONE hundred years ago this week, an institution was born.
On November 4, 1911, the first Weekly Times Annual was published.
It was to become the annual snapshot of Victoria - both rural and metropolitan - much anticipated by households to read of the development of a great state and marvel at the wonders of modern photography.
That first edition - a 60-page glossy feature which cost one shilling - showcased the best pictures and writing of the day.
It also depicted a very different Victoria to that we know today.
When first printed, women had just been given the right to vote and horses clopped down city streets.
It was a time when P&O offered Melbourne to London trips by sea from £69 return, and Formettes for Fatness pills promised a way to reduce fat easily and pleasantly without dieting.
Melbourne had a population of just over 500,000. The State Government wanted more to come.
It advertised that Victoria was literally the land of unlimited possibilities: "Good soil, splendid climate, ample rain, free education, light taxation and general prosperity." And Victoria's climate was the best in Australia for the constitution of the British race.
The city soon became the leading commercial manufacturing and distribution centre of the Commonwealth. Irrigation land sold from £10 an acre and interest rates were 4.5 per cent.
The minimum pay was £110 a year and capitalism was in full swing.
Milner Macmaster wrote about the working class. He said wages differed by state, but: "Speaking generally, they are very much higher than in Great Britain and at present there is a demand for skilled labour of all kinds."
Some 100 years later, a few things haven't changed. Companies that advertised then are still here today. Keen's Mustard is still stocked in supermarkets and Fiat cars are still on the road. Others, such as Greathead's miracle mixture, are long forgotten.
A full page was dedicated to the romance of farming.
JJ Pascoe wrote: "On a wet day, with mud to his knees, the farmer fails to see the romance in his calling, but there is a side to it which appeals potently to the imagination."
"Fortunes are not accumulated in a day, yet farming in Australia has produced independence for men who, had they remained in older countries, would have lived on a pittance to the end."
He described how gold diggers turned to farming once the rush was over. He said they selected land at a few shillings an acre and scattered across Victoria.
"Since then, agriculture has never looked back," he said.
Full-page colour photographs filled the edition with regional photos squeezed in between ads for city products. A quarter page was taken out by Kabo Corsets, trying to capture the growing market of fashion trends. They guaranteed their product would never rust.
On the opposite page, an optometrist and foot specialist advertised their services, while Newman's jewellers in Elizabeth St had diamond engagement rings from £2.
Victorian Railways promoted weekend getaways to Gippsland Lakes, the Alpine District, Healesville and Lorne.
Then, the federation was 10 years strong. School was free and compulsory.
Milner Macmaster tried to entice foreigners to make the long trip across the Pacific.
"The working and ordinary middle-class folk have an incomparably easier, brighter life than that of their British contemporaries," he wrote in 1911.
The Weekly Times published the Annual until the Depression forced its demise in 1934.
It was reintroduced in 2009. It will be published this year on December 21.