Jules Mark Feldman (OAM), co-founder of Australia’s second hi-fi magazine, Hi-Fi Review, as well as the founder of Australia’s first car magazine, Modern Motor, and one of the two man credited with the greatest scoop in Australian automotive history, has died, aged 93.

In addition to starting Australia’s second hi-fi magazine, Feldman also helped create, with Colin Ryrie, Australia’s second electronics magazine, Electronics Today International (ETI) which was subsequently licensed for re-publication (with local content) in seven countries including the UK, Canada and France (as Electroníque pour Vous). Edited by Collyn Rivers, it became the world’s largest electronics magazine and in 1976 was awarded the title of ‘Best Electronics Publication in the World’ by the Union International de la Presse Radiotechnique et Electronique.

Hi-Fi Review was established in 1976 by Modern Magazines as a competitor to Australian Hi-Fi Magazine. Collyn Rivers was Editor in Chief, Peter Scott was Editor and John Clare was Music Editor. The magazine ceased publication within seven years of launch.

The publishing company responsible for all these titles was called ‘Modern Magazines’. It was founded by Colin Ryrie in 1953, and it was Colin’s son, Kim Ryrie, who suggested publishing Electronics Today International and for a time worked for the magazine. Kim went on to become world-famous for developing the Fairlight CMI synthesiser and now owns DEQX, the world’s foremost developer of DSP-based loudspeaker correction systems.

At one stage, Modern Magazines was one of Australia’s largest publishers, and in addition to publishing Australia's first automotive magazine, published dozens of other magazines including Rugby League Weekly, Wheels, Australian Golf Digest, Modern Boating, Modern Fishing, Australian Cricket, Motorcycle News, Hi Fi Review, ETI, Seacraft, and Outdoors and Fishing. (Modern Motor dropped the word ‘Modern’ from its title in 1992, and is now known as Motor.)


What has been claimed as ‘the greatest scoop in Australian motoring history’ occurred in 1956, when Feldman and Ryrie infiltrated Holden’s factory in Pagewood, South Sydney, to snap photographs of Holden's next-generation model, the FE. After they published photos of the prototype in Modern Motor as proof of the imminent new model, Holden claimed the story was a beat-up. Later, when they heard that finished models were almost ready the two, posing as Holden workers, again managed to infiltrate the plant and this time managed to get a photo of the very first FE as it rolled off the production line. Forty years later, Feldman was still chuffed with the photo Ryrie took, when he was interviewed by Matt Campbell, of the Sydney Morning Herald, after being awarded an OAM for services to the print media industry. ‘The shot was as though it had been posed,’ Feldman told Campbell. ‘The bloke leaning over the car and looking through the engine bay happened to be the chief of security. That's the one we printed. We hit them with that, plus about six pages of photos of every possible bit of the car throughout the issue.

After Colin Ryrie, who was also an Olympic yachtsman, died in a boating accident on Sydney Harbour in July 1972, Feldman, who had been Managing Editor of Modern Magazines as well as a director of the company, took over as Managing Director. Gareth Powell, who worked with Feldman after he took over as MD, remembers: ‘Jules was a most lovely man. If he had a fault it was that he thought he spoke Chinese. Which dialectic no one had any idea. It wasn't Mandarin and it wasn't Cantonese. Yet time and again he would go into a restaurant, rattle away in some argot, be faced with blank faces and turn around and say, ‘Wrong dialect.

Feldman was born in Siberia on 11th March, 1919, raised in Shanghai, and educated in England before moving to Australia. He died in William Angliss Hospital on 18th September, 2013 after a short illness. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Sandra, and children Paul, Eloise and Peter. #