GRAFTON builder Rob Osborne couldn't believe his luck when he pulled up a piece of lino during a renovation in South Grafton to find copies of the Australian Women's Weekly from 1938 and 1940.
The copies of the then young publication - Frank Packer founded it in 1933 - were used to pack out the floor covering, which kept the magazines, then printed on newsprint, in reasonably good condition.
"I did history at school and I always loved it," Mr Osborne said. "There was just so many things in it from back then.
"There was a picture of Adolph Hitler talking to a little girl that was just like a social photo as well as a story about an Aussie fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
"In fact I showed it to a lady who was in her 80s and she was fascinated by it all."
Mr Osborn was also fascinated by the limited use of colour and the tabloid size pages of the early magazine.
"It looked a lot more like The Daily Telegraph looks rather than what we think a magazine looks like now," he said.
"From the colour spread it must have in the early days of colour printing for them.
"They're only using colour on a few pages and the pictures are drawn in rather than using photographs."
The magazines also contained some Australian icons, including an episode of the cartoon series, Mandrake.
Mr Osborn was also fascinated to see products like Vita Weets and Cornflakes were popular more than 70 years ago.
"It seems like ads for fashions never change much," he said.
"The magazine had lots of ads for clothes that promised to make you look slim without having to exercise or use drugs."
Mr Osborn said he found the magazines three years ago and decided to keep them.
"I found them again the other day and decided I would take them down the historical society," he said.
"I know the people
I have shown them too
were very interested in them, so I hope the historical society can do something with them."