Borba (The Fight)

Before the work on the Croatian emigrant press project there was no evidence of existing issues of Borba (The Fight), a newspaper published between the two world wars in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. Information about the newspaper could be found through secondary sources where some contradictory data can also been found. Većeslav Holjevac in his book Croats outside their homeland that was published in 1968 says the first issue was published in 1927:

The first bulletin was Borba, published in several hundred copies in Broken Hill in 1927.

Mato Tkalčević in his book Croats in Australia says that the first issue was published in 1913:

The first publication of Croatian immigrants between the two world wars was the bulletin Borba. The first issue was published in Broken Hill on June 15, 1931. The founder of the bulletin and its editor-in-chief was Ivan Viskich. He was born in Gradac in 1899 and came to Australia in 1926. Borba was a political bulletin promoting the ideas of socialism. Ivan Viskich wrote about the bulletin: “That was a small bulletin with many technical, grammatical and political mistakes. But the small bulletin was the foundation of our press in Australia.”

Borba was published in Croatian language, but Australian authorities at that time did not like it. According to the Printing Act it was not possible to get permit for publishing newspapers in Croatian. That is the reason, according to Tkalčević, why the publication used to change its title:

Bulletin Borba was not approved by the authorities and that was the reason for changing the title every few issues. The titles were Plamen (The Flame), Iskra (The Sparkle), Oganj (The Fire), Pravda (The Justice) and Proleter (The Proletarian). 

Holjevac  mentions two more titles that were probably also titles of publications that derived from Borba: Naprijed (Foreward) and Sloboda (The Freedom)

How much problems Borba  caused for the authorities is evidenced by the correspondence available in the Australian archive. In July and August 1932, the Australian Minister of Defense and the State Prosecutor corresponded about the unregistered Borba newspaper, published “in the Yugoslav language” and which should be checked “for communist propaganda”. The editors of the paper apparently hid well because the authorities were unable to find out who the publisher was. Part of one document is in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Part of a document available in the National Archives of Australia (NAA, series no. A467, control symbol SF7/6).

Tkalčević says that the newspaper Napredak (the first issue published in 1936) was also one of the extensions of Borba. The source for that statement is a publication by Ivan Viskich, editor of Borba. The publication in question is Important dates from the lives of our emigrants, published in Strathfield (Sydney) in 1981, however not available in Croatian libraries.

An issue of Borba (from October 1932) was found in the National Archives of Australia during work on the Croatian emigrant press project and the issue was digitized.