The press in colonial Queensland : a social and political history, 1845-1875

Cryle, Denis The press in colonial Queensland : a social and political history, 1845-1875. St. Lucia, Qld.: University of Queensland Press, 1989.

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Author Cryle, Denis
Title The press in colonial Queensland : a social and political history, 1845-1875
Place of Publication St. Lucia, Qld.
Publisher University of Queensland Press
Publication year 1989
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Series UQP paperbacks
ISBN 0702221813
Language eng
Total number of pages 191
Subjects 360101 Australian Government and Politics
210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Formatted Abstract/Summary

George Nadel in the introduction of his Australia's Colonial Culture observed that researchers of the 19th century are confronted from the outset with an "embarras de richesse", or overabundance of source material. Despite the common efforts of archivists, literary critics, students of journalism and political scientists, Australian newspaper history has advanced little beyond the methods of the early investigators.2 In part this failure can be explained by the prolific and ephemeral character of 19th century newspapers themselves. The Golden Age of the press might well be renamed the Era of Instability, for the salient feature of press ownership, individual or collective, is undoubtedly its ephemerality. In Queensland, metropolitan papers changed hands every five years while, in the provinces, turnover was as high as every two years. Although Queensland boasts a sizeable body of press writing, the task of identifying numerous individual publications and proprietors has absorbed researchers to the exclusion of sustained written commentary.

The prolific character of the 19th century press has important implications for general historians as well as for specialist newspaper researchers. In the absence of systematic research into the newspaper sources upon which they depend, most historians cite the press in piecemeal fashion without any consideration of proprietorial politics or the audience for which the paper was intended; they prefer to consult colonial papers which have survived into the 20th century and to avoid journals which have long since disappeared, even though the latter may have been more informative and influential in their time. A further consequence of the selective use of "established" newspapers by historians is the tendency to produce a more conservative picture of the press than is in reality the case. Only one work on the 19th century press exists which is sufficiently thorough and comprehensive to merit serious recommendation. Robin Walker's volume on 19th century New South Wales succeeds in providing a cohesive commentary on southern newspaper development and plugs most of the holes in the potted press tradition. On the subject of unsuspected competition, he reminds readers that both the Atlas, in the 1840s, and the Empire in the 1850s, competed strongly against the Herald. Any discussion of mid century constitutional and land developments would be unwise to ignore these sources…… 
Keyword Australian newspapers -- Queensland -- History -- 19th century
Press and politics -- Queensland -- History -- 19th century
Queensland -- Social conditions -- 1824-1900
Q-Index Code AX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown
Additional Notes Permission received from University of Queensland Press to make this item publicly available on 5th June 2013

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Created: Thu, 24 Dec 2009, 08:27:55 EST by Ms Natalie Hull on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service