Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Hawkesbury in print - Trove Tuesday

210 years ago the first newspaper in Australia was published. The  “Sydney Gazette” is a very important source of historic material on early life in the colony and for the first few decades of the settlement, it was the only printed record documenting the day to day activities. It was originally published weekly by Australia’s first newspaper commenced in 1803 and was established by  George Howe (1769-1821) and the editor stated in its first edition "We open no channel to political discussion or personal animadversion [criticism]; information is our only purpose…" Howe was allowed to use the Government's press & type for the publication but it was accomplished out of his own pocket. Due to the cost of ink and paper, newspapers were often very small. In the early years, the Sydney Gazette averaged about four pages per edition and because of this, articles were kept to a minimum. Despite the limitations on the paper the Hawkesbury features in this historic issue.

The first mention of the Hawkesbury district appears in the first issue 5 March 1803 p. 4 and records the death of a settler, Mr Withers and that of Maria Wood and the fate of her orphaned children.

 The Sydney Gazette 5 March 1803 

The Hawkesbury went onto be recorded in the media many many more times over the years. In fact Trove Australia records at 327,845 mentions of the word in at least 525 newspapers in states and territories all over Australia. Hopefully as more newspapers are digitised and transcribed this number will increase tenfold.

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