How to find newspapers

How to find current, historical and online newspapers

First editions of 'The Age'

The Library holds a copy of the first issue of The Age, 17 October, 1854. This issue has the signature of Melbourne pioneer, John Pascoe Fawkner, at the top of the first page, just under the title. This is the only known original copy of this signed issue. It is believed to be unique. (We also hold an unsigned copy of the first edition).

In 1979, for the 125th anniversary of The Age, a facsimile edition was produced and distributed with The Age. An accompanying article (page 1) explains:

Today ‘The Age’ is 125 years old, and to mark the anniversary this latest issue also contains our first issue. As part of today’s paper we carry an eight-page facsimile of ‘The Age’ that was published on Melbourne on October 17, 1854. The facsimile is reproduced from a copy that belonged to John Pascoe Fawkner. It bears his signature on the front page, and was lent by the State Library for this occasion.

The 1979 facsimile was produced on brown or discoloured paper to give an antique effect. Copies of this facsimile can therefore look quite old.

In 2004, for its 150th anniversary, The Age produced another facsimile edition that was distributed with the newspaper of 17 October 2004. This reproduction is not signed and is on non-aged paper.

Is your copy an original or facsimile?

If it has a signature that is a clear and full black inked rendition, it is very likely to be a facsimile copy. The original signature was quite brown.

If it is a signed copy, it is also likely to be a facsimile because the Library’s signed copy is believed to be unique.

If it is an unsigned copy, check the lower right-hand corner. If there is an edition note and date in brackets (eg: [S01 NAA 17oct04], it's a facsimile.

Early editions of the Melbourne Advertiser

The Melbourne Advertiser was Melbourne’s first newspaper, published by John Fawkner on January 1, 1838. The first ten issues were handwritten and then another 17 were printed. The paper was ceased for its failure to obtain a licence but emerged under a new title, the Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser.

The Library's copies of the originals, acquired at different times over the years, have been digitised.

Two complete facsimile issues of the Melbourne Advertiser were published:

In 1869 De Gruchy produced a facsimile of issue No 1, 1 January 1838.

In 1869 Peter C Alcock produced a facsimile of issue No 2, 8 January 1838.

Written down the bottom of the facsimiles was, 'this is a fascimile', but we have come across some copies which have been finely trimmed, removing this statement. Fawkner died in 1869, so its speculated that perhaps the facsmiles were published to commemorate his death.

There have also been several pages of early Advertiser issues republished in various publications. The Victorian Historical Magazine (vol 3 no 10, 1913, page 102) gives detailed information about all known facsimiles.

Is your copy an original or facsimile?

The following video points out some differences between an original and a facsimile copy of the Melbourne Advertiser: