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Title : Truth Truth
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Source : Truth, 1 October 1955, p. 1
Date of creation : 1955
Format : Newspaper
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Truth (Melbourne). It may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Truth (Melbourne) and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Truth was well-known for its grisly and sensational tales sifted from the reports of Adelaide court rooms. Descriptions of murders, macabre deaths, and lurid seductions fill its pages. It also gave good coverage to horse racing. But Truth was not always a 'scandal sheet'. The earliest Adelaide publication titled Truth, was published by talented journalist Joseph Cheyne Wharton in 1890. But from this time various publishers produced newspapers with a similar ethos until the 1960s. Wharton's publication was largely a journal of political comment, while later versions of Truth tended more towards tales of scandal from the law courts and police reports, mixed in with sport - mostly in the form of horse racing. Eventually the Adelaide Truth became an offshoot of John Norton's Sydney newspaper, bought by him in 1896 with editions extended to the other states as its popularity increased.

Truth 1890 Wharton's Truth was published at the beginning of the labour upheaval which came to be known as 'the shearer's strike'. The action began at Port Adelaide on 24 August with striking maritime workers wanting the right to join unions. From here it spread in a wave of strikes across the city. Truth alludes to the industrial unrest, and includes cartoons by Fred Dane depicting the struggle of 'labour and capital'. Wharton was a firm supporter of unions and workers' rights, but like many at the time he was also in favour of a 'White Australia' for example publishing anti-Chinese cartoons. (11 December 1890, p. 6-7) A 'lady's letter' column contained the social news of the week - mostly referring to the theatre. Sporting reports by a variety of writers usually appeared on the back page.

AdelaideTruth 1903-1907 Only a handful of copies of Charles Chandler's Adelaidetruth newspaper have survived. None are held by the State Library. Chandler had previously run the newspaper Free press which was beset with libel cases and earned him two stints in jail. His partners in the Truth were apparently E.J. McAlister and Andrew McNamara. A few months into publication, Chandler was in court for an article alleging Thomas Elder had taken a poor woman's corned beef in lieu of unpaid rent. (The article referred to Thomas Elder as 'Pinky Tom', apparently a commonly used nick-name for the wealthy shipping agent.) Interestingly, Chandler also published a Port Pirie edition of the Truth, although no copies have survived. (Port Pirie Recorder, 21 November 1936, p. 3.)

In 1906 Chandler arranged for the Truth sports writer, Reginald Louis Solomon, to run the newspaper. Controversy and court hearings followed. Solomon claimed that he had purchased the printing equipment, and in the meantime Chandler was in the process of selling the newspaper to the Sydney-based Truth newspaper company. The sale went through and until the 1930s, the Adelaide Truth was published by the Sydney, and later, Melbourne-based firm.

AdelaideTruth 1915 The next version of the Truth seems to have been published under the auspices of the Melbourne company by Adelaide-based journalist Frederick Joseph Jennings. The newspaper began in May 1915, but its last issue appeared only a month later.

Truth 1916-1917 Issues of the Melbourne Truth marked 'Adelaide edition' exist for 1916 and 1917. These issues were published by Harold Gray for John Norton of the Sydney Truth and Sportsman newspapers.  All the advertisements in the Adelaide editions are for Melbourne businesses. Similarly, almost all the news content is Melbourne-based. Truth was firmly opposed to Conscription - the Australian government's attempt to force men of a certain age range to join the armed forces during the First World War - with editorials, cartoons, and comment against voting yes in the two referenda.

Truth 1925-1928 In 1925 a 'South Australian edition' of Truth was published by Joseph Aloysius Patrick Hayes for Norton's company. Again it contains scandalous stories from all around Australia, with a concentration on Victoria. However it also includes a number of Adelaide stories. The introduction of photographs at this time further sensationalised reporting. A fashion section was frequently included and horse racing was still well reported.

Truth 1934 A single 1934 issue of Truth gives the publisher as James Glennon Geohagen, for Truth and Sportsman, Melbourne.  Again the newspaper contains mostly scandal and gossip based on law court news.

Truth 1941-1964 The longest continuous run of a South Australian edition of the Truth covers the war and immediate post war period. The newspaper was still published by James Geohagen as an off shoot of the Melbourne Truth. It also continued to be filled with scandal and horse racing. Towards the end of its life the South Australian Truth gave more space to stories of the rich and famous, and enlarged its coverage of local horse racing and football. The Truth at this time became popular for its bikini girl photographs. The Melbourne Truth finally wound up in 1994, thirty years after the last South Australian edition was published.

Related names :

Geohagen, James

Hayes, Joseph

Coverage year : 1955
Place : Adelaide (S. Aust.)



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