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Title: Andrew Bent and the Birth of the Free Press in the Australian Colonies
Contributor(s): Collins, C (author)
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: Writing his editorial for the 'Hobart Town Gazette' of 10 December 1824, Evan Henry Thomas observed: "The hour that gives existence in a British Colony to a Free Press,requires not the aid of our feeble pen to extol its worth, or magnifyits importance. That hour is pregnant with the embrio virtues of countless worthies yet unborn. And those who love light ratherthan darkness, must worship it as the dawn of mental glory"(Thomas 1824). Thomas was not known as a master of understatement. His 'peculiar style' was easily recognised by his contemporaries but not always so readily understood ('R v Bent' (1826) 'CT' 21 April 1826). The news from Sydney which so excited Thomas was, that on 14 October 1824, the 'Australian' newspaper had published its first number as a private concern and 'with an avowal of independence' (Thomas 1824). Dr Robert Wardell had brought out from England his own printing press and, with William Charles Wentworth, had established the paper. Thomas also rejoiced the removal of official censorship from the 'Sydney Gazette' just one week later. Van Diemen's Land still fell within the jurisdiction of New South Wales (and would remain so until June 1825), although Thomas saw the two as different British colonies. In Hobart Town, mainland New South Wales had come to be known as 'Australia' - a place separate and distinct from the island of Van Diemen's Land (Atkinson 2004 p.36). Thomas (1824) refers to 'Australia' as a sister colony of that for whom he speaks, when he goes on to say: 'Australia may indeed rejoice! We fraternally congratulate her! We view her as high andmighty even amongst nations now!'.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: Australian Media Traditions Conference: Politics Media History, Old Parliament House, Canberra, 24-25 November, 2005
Conference Details: Australian Media Traditions Conference: Politics Media History, Old Parliament House, Canberra, 24-25 November, 2005
Source of Publication: Australian Media Traditions Conference: Politics Media History - Refereed Papers, p. 1-17
Publisher: University of Canberra
Place of Publication: Canberra
Field of Research (FOR): 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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