by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Panpa Bulletin : November December 2006
The only Western Australian provincial centres that published daily newspa- pers in the 19th century were the gold- fields towns of Boulder, Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie, Kanowna and Menzies, but there was one other claimant. The coastal port of Geraldton aspired to daily publication, at least through the titles some of its newspapers chose: the Daily Advertiser and Morning Post. Neither paper, however, can be classified as a daily if you accept that a daily newspaper must appear at least five times a week. The Daily Advertiser was published by the Victorian Express at Geraldton from January 28, 1890. John Michael Drew, an early Geraldton newspaper editor, wrote 40 years later that the Advertiser appeared Monday to Saturday initially, but the available evidence does not support Drew's claim. The State Library of Western Australia says the Daily Advertiser appeared Monday to Thursday from January 28, 1890, to October 9 that year. The first extant issue is August 25, 1890, which is No. 109, indicating that the paper had failed on occasions to appear even four times a week during the preceding 36 weeks. The Daily Advertiser resumed publica- tion on June 20, 1892, again on a non-daily basis (this time Monday to Wednesday), and continued until April 19, 1893. It became the Geraldton Advertiser from April 24, ceasing to pretend that it was a daily. It ceased publication on December 29, 1905, and was incorporated in the Geraldton Express from January 1906. The Morning Post began publication in Geraldton on April 1, 1895, and appeared twice a week until its final issue on June 17, 1896. It then became part of the Geraldton-Murchison Telegraph, which appeared three times a week. The first provincial newspaper published in Western Australia appears to have been printed in Perth. Edmund Stirling, the founder of the Perth Inquirer, launched the Albany Banner in 1870, printing it in Perth on crown folio sheets and circulating it twice a month by post. No issue of this unsuccessful title is known to exist. The first provincial title published in the provinces was the Eastern Districts Chronicle, which George Inkpen launched at York, about 120km inland from Perth, on November 3, 1877. Geraldton was the next provincial town to become a newspaper centre. Isaac Walker, a Geraldton local merchant, was the main source of finance for the establishment of the weekly Victorian Express -- "A Journal of Politics and News" -- on September 11, 1878, by Stephen Montague Stout, an English jour- nalist with broad views. Convicted of forgery in England in 1856, Stout had developed a reputation for untrustworthiness in pay- ing debts when he was the publisher of the Express in Perth in 1872. At Geraldton, George Eliot, then the Government Resident, printed the first issue of the Victorian Express, a four-page double demy sheet, on a small Albion hand press. Stout's policy, which included "Responsible Government for Western Australia", did not meet with the approval of people in high places, according to Drew, and Stout was forced to "sever his connection with the Express before he had been ten months in harness". On August 31, 1880, Stout launched the Geraldton Observer, also a weekly, with the backing of Henry Gray, a militant advocate of constitutional reform. It was published for 14 months, says A.C. Frost. The plant was sold in 1892 to Alexander Livingstone who used it to produce the Murchison Miner, the first newspaper on the Murchison goldfields. Succeeding Stout as editor of the Express was Roland Charles Howes, who had been a school teacher. He brightened up the paper during his four years as editor. Francis Hart, a man of "striking literary at- tainments" (he had made a name for himself as a writer of patriotic songs), became the next editor and Walker took him into the partnership.. The firm that ran the Express became insolvent in 1888, after four years of Hart's administration. In January 1889 the trustee in bankruptcy sold the estate to a company formed especially to buy it. Alfred Carson was the editor. In January 1890 the company introduced the Daily Advertiser, as detailed above. Drew, who described it as "a financial failure", was offered the position of secretary to the Express company and manager of the business "at what was then a tempting sal- ary". At the age of 25, Drew had had five years of experience as a journalist in Perth but no management experience. He refused the offer at first but was persuaded to accept it. "The appalling nature of the contract I had taken on," Drew wrote, "soon made itself manifest to me. Creditors were pressing for the liquidation of liabilities long overdue, and I discovered, to my dismay, that some time before my advent on the scene, wages and salaries had been paid by raising money per medium of promissory notes issued by the Company. On these [notes] there was £120 ($240) to be met within two months. My first impulse was to throw up the position, but after mature deliberation I dreaded what peo- ple would say of me if I did so." Drew made out all the accounts and called on everyone in Geraldton who owed the company money. He repeated the visits until 40 per cent of debtors paid. The remaining 60 per cent met him with "either foul insults or downright repudiation on a variety of grounds". Drew was soon able to meet all the company's bills. Carson resigned as editor of the Express in April 1892 and Drew accepted the position "on the distinct understanding that I was not to be interfered with as regards policy -- a compact which was duly honoured". Once up to-date machinery, plant and power were A cavalcade of colourful The Western Australian port of Geraldton s media history is a tale of evolutionary commercial struggle with occasional bouts of high journalistic principle -- all with a thoroughly predictable 21st century ending, writes Rod Kirkpatrick. 44 | PANPA BULLETIN November--December 2006 When inaugural editor Stout s editorial policy of "Responsible Government for WA" met with the disapproval of people in high places, he was forced to "sever his connection with the Express before he had been ten months in harness"