National Library of Australia

Press timeline

Select chronology of significant Australian press events to 2011

Compiled by Rod Kirkpatrick for the Australian Newspaper History Group

1851-1900

Year Date Centre Details
1851 1 July Victoria Victoria becomes a separate colony.
1852 1 Jan Melbourne The Argus incorporates the Melbourne Daily News (formerly the Port Phillip Patriot)
1853 4 Jan Adelaide Adelaide Times appears daily again. Ceases 8 May 1858.
1853 30 Sept Sydney John Fairfax buys Charles Kemp’s interest in Sydney Morning Herald and takes Charles Fairfax as a partner.
1853 3 Nov Sandhurst, Vic. First issue of Diggers’ Advocate (printed in Melbourne), first goldfields newspaper in Victoria.
1853 9 Dec Sandhurst, Vic. First issue of Bendigo Advertiser.
1854 5 July Hobart First issue of Hobarton Mercury, a bi-weekly.
1854 17 Oct Melbourne First issue of the Age; daily.
1856 1 Jan Tasmania Van Diemen's Land becomes Tasmania; its Constitution was enacted by the British Parliament in 1855.
1856 12 June Melbourne Ebenezer Syme buys the Age.
1856 27 Sept Melbourne David Syme becomes a partner in the Age, now printed and published by E. and D. Syme.
1857 24 Aug Hobart Hobarton Mercury incorporates oldest journal in Tasmania, the tri-weekly Colonial Times with which is incorporated the Tasmanian, leaving Sydney Morning Herald as Australia’s oldest surviving paper.
1858 1 Jan Hobart Hobarton Mercury becomes a daily.
1858 11 Jan Melbourne First issue of Melbourne Evening Mail. Ceases 10 July 1858.
1858 1 June Hobart Hobarton Mercury incorporates Tasmanian Daily News.
1858 12 July Adelaide First issue of South Australian Advertiser; daily.
1858 28 Aug Sydney Empire, as run by Henry Parkes, ceases; resumes 23 May 1859.
1859 7 Feb Sydney First issue of Sydney Evening Mail; ceases 18 May.
1859 23 May Sydney First issue of Empire, now owned by Samuel Bennett (after nine months’ discontinuation of publication).
1859 1 June Hobart Hobarton Daily Mercury incorporates Daily Courier.
1859 10 Dec Queensland Queensland becomes a separate colony.
1860 13 Feb Melbourne Argus reduces cover price from 6d to 3d.
1860 16 Feb Melbourne Age reduces cover price from 6d to 3d.
1860 18 Feb Sydney Empire reduces cover price from 4d to 3d
1860 20 Feb Sydney Sydney Morning Herald reduces cover price from 4d to 3d
1860 13 Mar Melbourne Ebenezer Syme, part-proprietor of Age, dies, aged 34. David Syme continues the paper, with Ebenezer's widow as a part-proprietor.
1860 17 Mar Kapunda, SA First issue of Northern Star, first new SA provincial English-language newspaper since 1839. Ceases 26 Dec 1863.
1860 31 Mar Brisbane First issue of Queensland Guardian; ceases 27 June 1868.
1860 2 July Hobart Hobarton Mercury changes name to simply the Mercury.
1860 7 July Sydney First issue of Sydney Mail, published by John Fairfax & Sons.
1861 14 May Brisbane Moreton Bay Courier becomes a daily and changes name to the Courier; changes again on 11 April 1864 to Brisbane Courier.
1862 16 Aug Adelaide First issue of Telegraph (upon connection of telegraph from Melbourne to Adelaide). Said to be Australia's first penny evening daily.
1862 Unknown Melbourne First issue of Evening News. Ceases 19 August 1896?
1863 March Tanunda, SA First issue of Tanunda Deutsche Zeitung, filling gap left by departure to Adelaide at start of 1863 of Sudaustralien Zeitung.
1863 4 Apr Brisbane Queensland Guardian becomes a daily.
1863 30 Nov Adelaide First issue of Adelaide Express, penny evening paper published by SA Advertiser.
1864 27 May Adelaide South Australian Register reduces cover price: 4d to 3d.
1864 16 Sept Adelaide South Australian Advertiser reduces cover price: 4d to 3d.
1864 29 Sept Perth Final issue of West Australian Times (Vol. 1, No 53); weekly.
1864 30 Sept Perth Final issue of Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News.
1864 7 Oct Perth Arthur Shenton incorporates the West Australian Times in the newly titled Perth Gazette and West Australian Times: A Journal of Politics & News. Vol. 1, No. 1.
1865 2 Oct Brisbane First issue of Daily Leader.
1866 3 Feb Brisbane First issue of Queenslander; weekly; ceases 22 Feb 1939.
1867 1 Jan Melbourne Age reduces cover price from 3d to 2d (Argus is still 3d)
1867 29 July Sydney First issue of Evening News (first penny daily in NSW); Samuel Bennett is proprietor. Ceases 21 March 1931.
1867 14 Oct Melbourne First issue of Evening Star.
1868 1 June Melbourne Age reduces cover price from 2d to 1d (Argus is still 3d)
1868-1869   Darwin Earliest Northern Territory newspaper was Moonta Herald, published seven times on board ship that brought SA Surveyor-General George Goyder and his team of surveyors and workers to Darwin (then Palmerston).
1869 2 Jan Adelaide First issue of Evening Journal (produced by South Australian Register group).
1869 4 Jan Melbourne First issue of Herald (estab. 1840 as Port Phillip Herald) as evening daily.
1869 8 Feb Melbourne First issue of Daily Telegraph. Ceases May 1892.
1870 3 Jan Fremantle First issue of Express; first daily in WA; mornings.
1870 9 Jan Sydney First issue of Australian Town & Country Journal.
1870 30 Jan Sydney First issue of Afternoon Telegram, evening daily from Fairfax stable. Ceases 30 April 1870.
1870 1 July Fremantle First issue of Express, daily, Vol 1, No 1 (reincarnation of former title); ceases with Vol 1, No 181, 28 Jan 1871.
1872 25 June Sydney Samuel Bennett initiates first telegram sent direct from Australia to London: order for up-to-date printing machine (probably the Victory Stereo Rotary Printing Press).
1872 1 Oct Brisbane First issue of Telegraph; daily; ceases 5 Feb 1988.
1873 Nov Darwin First issue of Northern Territory Times and Government Gazette, the first machine-printed newspaper in Darwin; printed in back room of a government office; Adelaide journalist Richard Wells is editor and George T. Clarkson publisher. Survives until 1932.
1874 3 July Perth Perth Gazette and West Australian Times becomes a bi-weekly (Tues/Fri) and changes title to the Western Australian Times (Vol. 1, No 1).
1875 16 Feb Sydney Evening News absorbs Empire.
1875 1 May Sydney First issue of Echo, penny evening daily from Fairfax stable. Ceases 22 July 1893.
1876 12 July Melbourne First issue of Evening Post. Closure date unknown.
1878 3 June Sydney Death of Samuel Bennett (1815-1878), founder of Evening News.
1879 1 May Sydney First issue of the Echo. Ceases 22 July 1893.
1879 1 July Sydney First issue of Sydney Daily Telegraph, which later became simply the Daily Telegraph.
1879 18 Nov Perth Western Australian Times changes title to the West Australian. Vol. 1 No. 1. Includes a poem from Henry Kendall. The paper is still bi-weekly (Tues/Fri).
1880 13 Jan Brisbane First Brisbane issue of Daily Observer (formerly Ipswich Observer, launched 1 June 1870; daily from 12 May 1879; becomes Daily Observer 17 June 1879). Becomes Evening Observer from 8 May 1884.
1880 31 Jan Sydney First issue of the Bulletin, later a magazine rather than newspaper.
1881 17 Oct Melbourne First issue of Evening Mail. Ceases 1882.
1882 26 July Perth First issue of Daily News; appeared Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat (not on Wed because the Inquirer appeared that day and both titles were owned by one partnership).
1882 Oct Sydney First issue of the Tribune and News of the Week, weekly stable-mate of Daily Telegraph; ceases 28 June 1889.
1883 16 Oct Perth West Australian becomes a tri-weekly.
1884 1 July Melbourne Argus reduces cover price from 3d to 2d.
1885 1 Jan Perth West Australian becomes a daily.
1885 15 Nov Sydney First issue of Sunday Times; initiator is W.H.L. Bailey. Ceases 1 June 1930.
1885 16 Nov Sydney First issue of the Globe, evening daily issued by Sunday Times. Ceases June 1887.
1886 20 Oct Sydney First issue of Referee, a sporting newspaper.
1887 Dec Sydney First issue of Australian Star; becomes Sun on 1 July 1910.
1889 29 April Melbourne First issue of Evening Standard. Ceases October 1894.
1889 17 Oct Melbourne Herald becomes first Australian newspaper to regularly make Page 1 its main news page.
1890 3 Aug Sydney First issue of Truth.
1891 21 March Melbourne Imprint of Age changes with departure from partnership of Joseph Cowen Syme, nephew of David Syme. David buys out nephew's 25pc interest for £140,000. Contract signed on 28 Feb and £40,000 cash paid on 19 March. Remainder paid at £10,000 every six months, with interest set at 6pc. Total amount actually paid is £156,674 4s 10d.
1893 1 April Melbourne Argus reduces cover price from 2d to 1d.
1893 26 June Sydney Sydney Morning Herald reduces cover price to one penny.
1893 22 July Sydney Echo, evening stable-mate of Sydney Morning Herald, closes.
1894 April Sydney Linotypes machines installed at Sydney Daily Telegraph.
1894 late Melbourne A.H.Massina & Co. installs Victoria's first Linotype machine (firm publishes and prints various weeklies and monthlies).
1895 early Melbourne Linotype machines installed at the Melbourne Herald.

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Updated 25 January 2012

Other years in the chronology:

1802 - 1850

1851 - 1900

1901 - 1950

1951 - 2011