The Sydney Gazette
was the first newspaper in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
. Governor King
Captain Philip Gidley King RN was a British naval officer and colonial administrator. He is best known as the official founder of the first European settlement on Norfolk Island and as the third Governor of New South Wales.-Early years and establishment of Norfolk Island settlement:King was born...
authorised the publication of what was initially called 'The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser
in 1803. Subsequently the first edition was published 5 March. The paper was issued weekly; the content was mostly government-issued official notices dealing with the import of spirits and General Orders regulating boats’ cargoes. The heavily censored paper's masthead
The masthead is a list, published in a newspaper or magazine, of its staff. In some publications it names only the most senior individuals; in others, it may name many or all...
carried the imprimatur Published by Authority
. In 1825 the paper became bi-weekly, and by 1831 the 'Sydney Gazette' was available three times a week.
The Gazette first took the form of a single sheet folded to four pages of foolscap
Foolscap may refer to:* Foolscap folio, a paper size of 8½ × 13½ inches * A paper size of 17 × 13½ inches * A book by Michael Malone-See also:*Jester, an entertainer employed by a European monarch, often wearing a fool's cap...
size, each page typeset in three columns. It was printed with use of a small wooden printing press brought out aboard one of the First Fleet ships. The introductory address, by Howe, was published on the first page in the third column. It read:
Innumerable as the Obstacles were which threatened to oppose our Undertaking, yet we are happy to affirm that they were not insurmountable, however difficult the task before us.
The utility of a PAPER in the COLONY, as it must open a source of solid information, will we hope, be universally felt and acknowledged, We have courted the assistance of the INGENIOUS and INTELLIGENT :--- We open no channel to Political Discussion, or Personal Animadversion :--- Information is our only purpose; that accomplished, we shall consider that we have done our duty, in an exertion to merit the Approbation of the PUBLIC, and to secure a liberal Patronage to the Sydney Gazette.
There were 300 subscribers at sixpence
The sixpence, known colloquially as the tanner, or half-shilling, was a British pre-decimal coin, worth six pence, or 1/40th of a pound sterling....
a copy in the first years of publication.
The paper's original publisher, editor, typesetter and printer was George Howe, who had been transported to Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...
for shoplifting in 1800. After Howe's death in 1821, the Gazette
was published by his son Robert until he drowned in a boating incident in Sydney Harbour in 1829. Publication of the printing business passed onto his apprentice Horatio Wills
Horatio Spencer Howe Wills , or Horace Wills, was an Australian pastoralist and politician. Born in Sydney, the son of a convict sent to Australia for highway robbery, Wills is notable as being involved in several events in Australian history...
The paper ceased publication on 20 October 1842.