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South Australian
Title : South Australian South Australian
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Source : South Australian, 9 April 1869, p. 1
Date of creation : 1869
Format : Newspaper
Dimensions : 590 x 425 mm
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Description :

The South Australian: a weekly journal of news, politics, sports, literature, arts and general information, was the second of several newspapers founded by the notorious Ebenezer Ward. In its first issue, Ward described the newspaper as 'independent' however his main intention was to provide a vehicle for his political views, particularly in relation to the highly topical and vexed question of land reform. He ambitiously hoped that the South Australian might become an opposition newspaper to Adelaide's existing weeklies - the Observer and the Chronicle. The newspaper also provided lengthy sporting news - mainly covering horse racing, including local, interstate and overseas races.

In 1868 the South Australian Parliament was gripped by the 'land crisis'. Wakefield's theory of colonisation utilised in South Australia was financed by the proceeds from the sale of land. Land was sold at auction, with all sales being strictly on cash terms. This system naturally favoured those with capital. It was also notoriously open to abuse. However, despite the difficulties faced by small farmers in South Australia, it was not until the opening of cheap land in Victoria began attracting them over the border that action was taken in the South Australian Parliament. The Waste Lands Amendment Act (or 'Strangways Act') saw the defining of 'agricultural areas' - areas where ordinary farmers would not be faced with unfair competition from wealthy investors. The Act also allowed for payment of a deposit at the time of purchase, with the balance payable in four years. Although much of this reform was in line with Ward's views, he felt the Act did not go far enough. In 1870 Ward was elected to Parliament and was then able to put some of his views into action.

Ward was secretary of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia and the pages of the South Australian contained many articles dealing with horticulture. From May 1869 a series of articles by E.B. Heyne, the nursery proprietor, addressed the subject of trees suitable for planting in Adelaide's public spaces. Ward had previously been the theatre critic for the Melbourne Herald and the South Australian also contain a regular 'Drama' column. There was also a column titled 'Gleanings for ladies', a mining column and a serial story. However, horse racing took up more space than any other single topic.

The South Australian was originally a tabloid sized newspaper of 12 pages, sold at four pence per issue. From 9 April 1869 it was changed to broadsheet and four pages at three pence. The last issue appeared on Christmas Day 1869, but gave no notice that it was to cease. A few months later Ward began a new newspaper, the Gumeracha guardian and north eastern advertiser. The new title clearly used the same printing facilities and the same advertisers used its columns. It also, again, strongly urged land reform.

Subjects
Related names :

Heyne, E.B. (Ernst Bernhard), 1825-1881

Strangways, Giles, 1819-1906

Wakefield, Edward Gibbon, 1796-1862

Ward, Ebenezer, 1837-1917

Adelaide observer (Adelaide, S. Aust.)

Gumeracha guardian and north eastern advertiser (Adelaide, S. Aust.)

Herald (Melbourne, Vic.)

Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia

South Australian chronicle and weekly mail (Adelaide, S. Aust.)

South Australia. Waste Lands Amendment Act (1868)

Coverage year : 1869
Place : Adelaide, S. Aust.
Further reading :

Bowes, Keith. Land settlement in South Australia 1857-1890, Adelaide, S. Aust.: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1968

Hirst, JB. 'Ward, Ebenezer (1837-1917)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1976, pp. 351-352

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