How to find items in newspapers

Finding newspaper articles, images and more using databases and indexes

Edition variations in SLV holdings

Our microfilm editions of newspapers are not necessarily the same as our hard copy holdings. The most well-known discrepancy is The Argus, which was filmed in Sydney by Pascoe’s microfilming company from the State Library of New South Wales copies (not the Victorian edition). This is further complicated by the indexes, which have been done from the SLV’s bound copies, and therefore do not necessarily correspond to the microfilm.

The Age also seems to have variations for at least some of the 1900s, as discrepancies between photographs accompanying articles in hard copy have been found to be different from those on microfilm in 1957. The Age was also filmed by Pascoe’s, but it is unclear how many years might vary.

The same logic which applies to Melbourne dailies filmed from interstate copies also applies to interstate newspapers for which we hold both film and hard copy (for example, Sydney Morning Herald and Courier-Mail). The first editions of these papers came off the press around 12.30am and were delivered to railway stations and airports, then the suburban agency editions were produced followed by the city street editions which were rolled out around dawn.

The SLV’s policy was to bind the last editions. If that policy was the same interstate, then our bound editions of interstate papers can be different to the editions that were filmed in their home states.

Patrons looking for known items on the film may be able to find them in hard copies – however they would require a reasonably specific date.

Herald Sun

The Herald Sun has two catalogue entries for 2004- ; one is a city edition, one the country edition:

Herald sun (Melbourne, Vic. : City ed.) 2004-

Herald sun (Melbourne, Vic. : Country ed.) 2004-

We have filmed the Country edition and some pages of the City edition. The papers are 99% the same so only a few pages of the City edition has been filmed- but we hold both hard copy editions- in the same box, in storage.

There are two daily editions of the Herald Sun: one is called the 'Forecast', the other the 'City' edition:
Forecast = 1st edition
City = 2nd edition


From as far back as the 1850s, newsboys were a common sight on the streets of Melbourne. Most were poor and many were illiterate. But they were not without their friends and allies. This blog explores their history.

Black and white photo of a newspaper boy selling papers outside a Melbourne railway station

A newspaper boy outside a railway station in Melbourne, circa 1950s. Photo by Mark Strizic. This work is in copyright; H2008.11/2178

The Herald

'How many editions were there of The Herald (Melb)?' is a very common question. The number, and naming, of the editions changed over the years- which makes it very difficult to track. For example, in 1890 there were two editions; Monday to Friday and four editions on Saturday. Then in Jan 1 1896 there is an 'extra fifth edition' then on Jan 10th a 'sixth edition.'

In 1933 there was a 'final sports edition' and in 1936 there was a 'last edition'; in 1959 a sports edition, in 1966 a 'late extra' and a 'late city extra' and in 1969 a 'home edition'. Thus the conclusion we have reached is there is no discernible or obvious pattern- there are many editions and the number of the editions published vary constantly- so its hard to know if you are missing an edition or not.

The SLV microfilm of The Herald contains the last edition of the day- but it also includes some of the differing pages of earlier editions- but we can't say if it captured each day's edition comprehensively.

Conservation categories

In the Library catalogue entry of some newspapers, you may notice the note ‘Conservation Category’. This refers to the condition of the newspaper for the nominated years. The note will appear like this:
'Conservation category 3. Damaged: 1969-1970.'
'Conservation category 4. 1919'

The categories alert newspapers users (both Library staff and public) to the condition of the nominated years - the lower the number, the better the condition. For newspapers, there are four categories:

Conservation category 1: Frail

Conservation category 2. Fragile

Conservation category 3. Damaged

Conservation category 4. Use with extreme caution

Many of our earlier Victorian newspapers are bound, though not all. Often the entire year is classified as 'fragile' - but sometimes it is only some issues within the volume. Sadly, many of these fragile issues are untreatable. Newspapers were published on thin paper and were not designed to last very long.

The Library has treated and repaired fragile papers where possible.  These papers can be ordered; however, users may need to adjust their handling technique to suit the condition of the paper.  Staff in the Heritage Collections Reading Room (where the papers are viewed) may need to assess if the paper can be viewed - and will assist users to view and handle the material as required.