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05 March - Australia's first newspaper is printed.

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05 March - Australia's first newspaper is printed.

Unread postby Max ADU » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:29 am

Today in Australian History
Saturday, March 5, 1803.

Australia's first newspaper is printed.
Australia was built on the skills of the convicts. This was important for the construction of the first buildings, roads and bridges. Convicts were also significant to the colony's early literary and intellectual development.

In November 1800, convict transport ship "The Royal Admiral" brought George Howe to Australia's shores.

Howe was born in the West Indies but was well-educated in classical European literature, and he had extensive printing experience. His original death sentence for shoplifting in England was commuted to transportation to New South Wales. His skills in printing were immediately put to use for the publication of government documents.

In 1802 he issued the first book printed in Australia, "New South Wales General Standing Orders", which listed Government and General Orders issued between 1791 and 1802.

Howe was also permitted to commence Australia's first newspaper, which he printed from a shed at the back of Government House.

On 5 March 1803, publication commenced of "The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser". Initially it was printed weekly, and held four portfolio pages of official material, with a small number of private notices.

Early editions comprised shipping news, auction results, crime reports and agricultural notices, poems, literature and religious advice. Due to the lengthy shipping journeys, overseas news tended to be out of date by 10-14 weeks, but it was still eagerly received by the public.

Howe's newspaper remained the only one in Sydney until the appearance of explorer William Wentworth's "The Australian" in 1824.
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