I've been working on the following list for my 'One List to Rule Them All' for some time now, and thought I'd turn it into a post.
Below, in no particular order, are links to the major Australian literary journals and magazines currently accepting submissions, and a little information on each. I've only included those that are reasonably well-known and feature at least two pieces of unsolicited fiction per issue.
Even though most of the information is from the publications' websites and/or current issues (as of 5th of January, 2012), be sure to read their style guide and submission guidelines yourself before submitting your work. I also recommend reading a couple of recent issues to identify emerging trends and see if they've recently published a story similar to yours.
As you'll see, most don’t pay very well compared to non-fiction, and most take a while to reply to submissions, but having a story in any of these is sure to help your writing career.
If I've missed any of your favourites, please don't hesitate to say so in a comment and include a web address if possible. Thanks for reading and good luck: the short story industry is quite competitive at the moment.
Description: "Known primarily as a literary magazine, Meanjin reflect[s] the breadth of contemporary thinking, be it on literature, other art forms, or the broader issues of the times."
Submission Guidelines:"Submissions should be attached as a .doc or .docx file and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘Meanjin Submission’. Please send only ONE piece, and wait for a response before submitting again. Include a very brief biographical note. We do not impose word limits on submissions, but note that we rarely publish work over 5,000 words."
Estimated Response Time: Three to four months.
Commission: "Contributors are paid a minimum $100 for prose. The total fee will be determined by the number of pages the article fills in published form ... The average fee paid is about $50 (Australian) per printed page; higher fees are sometimes paid to specially commissioned authors."
Description: "Overland, the most radical of Australia’s long-standing literary and cultural magazines, celebrated its 50th year in 2004. Publishing features, fiction, poetry, reviews, comment, artwork and opinion pieces. Overland is committed to engaging with important literary, cultural and political issues in contemporary Australia. It has a tradition of publishing dissenting articles with a political and cultural focus."
Submission Guidelines: "We prefer writers who show some consciousness of their era and the issues it presents. We encourage experiments with both form and content. We do not impose formal word limits and occasionally publish very long essays and stories, but potential contributors should be aware that space limitations make longer pieces harder to accept. We ask all authors to submit their work via an electronic submission manager."
Estimated Response Time: "The quantity [of submissions] received means that the process can take some months."
Description: "Wet Ink is put together by a passionate team of writers and a designer who decided to do something about the lack of opportunities for writers to publish their short works and readers to access them. Inside each issue you’ll find fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction, interviews, photography, book reviews and more. It’s the place to discover some of today’s best up-and-coming talent, as well as new works by established authors."
Submission Guidelines: "Send no more than three submissions. • Only hard copies considered.
• Put your name on the cover sheet but NOT on the work.
• Text should be double spaced in Times New Roman 12pt.
• No word limit—although the longer a piece is, the more
outstanding it needs to be to replace two or three shorter
• Also interested in shorter pieces (to 500 words) that are
funny, snappy, experimental or thought-provoking." (Full guide here)
Estimated Response Time: Four months.
Commission: Under 1500 words $70, above 1500 words $120.
Description: Published three times a year, "Southerly is a journal of and for the discussion of Australian Literature and the publication of the best in new Australian writing."
Submission Guidelines: Hard copies can be sent to Southerly, c/- Department of English, University of Sydney NSW 2006, or emailed to email@example.com "Please also attach a cover letter with your submission including your name, contact details, title and page count of your work and the submission date." More submission guidelines here.
Estimated Response Time: "We attempt to acknowledge receipt of submissions within a week." Although, you may need to wait a little longer to find out if your work is accepted.
Description:"The Lifted Brow is a bimonthly magazine based in Melbourne. Every two months, the Brow publishes fiction, art, comics, and commentary on everything from maths to celebrity to design. It’s just meant to be fun and smart."
Description:"A bi-annual literary journal ... particularly interested in the work of contemporary Asian, Australian and Indigenous writers."
Submission Guidelines: "Submit 1 short story up to 3,000 words, or for flash fiction no more than 1,000 words in a single Microsoft Word doc as an attachment, labelled with your name to firstname.lastname@example.org. 12 point Times New Roman, 1.5 spaced."
Estimated Response Time: Three to six months, but they accept simultaneous submissions as long as you notify them immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.