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Adelaide examiner
Title : Adelaide examiner Adelaide examiner
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Source : Adelaide examiner, 29 October 1842, p. 1
Date of creation : 1842
Format : Newspaper
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Description :

The Examiner was started by a group of Adelaide gentlemen when Nathaniel Haile's Adelaide independent ceased. It was owned and printed by the Independent's former printer, George Dehane. The newspaper saw itself as a (very vocal) opposition to Dehane's former employer, the South AustralianRegister and claimed to be the, "only liberal portion of the press" in Adelaide at that time. (18 August 1842, p. 2) Richard Penny ('Vox Populi') was the outspoken editor, assisted by fellow doctors Litchfield, and Edward Davy. The newspaper was unable to survive beyond eighteen months, and its presses were absorbed into the new Adelaide Observer. While it lasted, the twice-weekly newspaper published many strong opinions about a range of topics and protagonists in early Adelaide, providing a fascinating alternative press commentary.

Topics The European colony was only five years old when the Examiner began. The 1840s were a difficult time, as the colony entered a financial crisis following over spending and drawing on credit reserves. Governor George Grey bore the brunt of criticism for this situation. This is the background context to much of the Adelaide examiner's content. An early issue contains a pessimistic article titled, 'How shall we live?' - mostly criticising the Governor. (25 December 1841, p. 2) Early issues also contained regular articles about farming and agriculture, in response to many settlers attempting to begin farming in the new colony without any prior experience.
Theatre Regular advertisements for the Queen's Theatre appear in the Examiner, as well as occasional reviews of plays.
Council elections The 1842 elections for Adelaide's short-lived earliest Council (1840-1843) received a lot of space in the newspaper, including a list of eligible voters. (12 October 1842, p. 1)
Aborigines The Examiner was very sympathetic about the Aboriginal population. However it was critical of the work of the 'German missionaries' apart from that of Pastor H.A.E. Meyer at Encounter Bay. (17 December 1842, p. 2) Pastor Teichelmann was severely criticised, at length. (24 September 1842, p. 2-3) The newspaper was highly critical about government 'mismanagement' of the Aboriginal situation at Port Lincoln. (19 October 1842, p. 1) It quoted comments made by the explorer Edward John Eyre about the Aborigines. (11 February 1843, p. 2-3)
Libel In 1842 the Examiner was reprimanded by Supreme Court judge Charles Cooper, for publishing an anonymous letter referring to the supposed seduction of the wife of Joseph Baker, by William Pearce. The letter by 'Vindex' was published in the Examiner in August (11 August 1842, p. 4), two months before the case went to court. Editor Richard Penney responded to the criticism with an open letter to Judge Cooper on the front page of the newspaper. (5 November 1842, p. 1) In March 1843 the newspaper was in court for libel published against Emanuel Solomon. Solomon had attacked Penny for the insult, and was charged at the same time with assault. (11 March 1843, p. 2)
Competitors Intense criticism of the rival Register, together with the Southern Australian newspaper,occupied much of the Examiner content. (18 August 1842, p. 2; 24 June 1843, p. 3, etc.) The Register was referred to as the 'slop pail' and the Southern Australian as 'the great teapot'.(7 April 1842, p. 2) The Examiner claimed the Southern Australian was overly supportive of Governor Grey, calling it the Governor's 'mouthpiece.' (14 September 1842, p. 2)
Contributors A large portion of the content of the newspaper was probably written by Nathaniel Hailes and Dr Richard Penny. (19 October 1842, p. 1) This included the humorous 'Timothy Short' letters (Nathaniel Hailes) and the very pointed 'Vox Populi' political letters (Richard Penny). (The 'Pax Vobiscum' letters of 1843 may also have been the work of Penny.) Dr Davey was the first editor. Penney followed as editor until early 1843. (15 March 1843, p. 1) Samuel Smith seems to have had a short editorial role between Davey and Penney. (5 November 1842, p. 1)
Closure The prolonged economic downturn, together with the competition of the longer-running newspapers, probably caused the Examiner's closure. An arrangement was made to sell the printing equipment to John Stephens - who the newspaper had previously deplored working with James Allen at the Register (8 April 1843, p. 2, 3) - and Stephens established the successful Adelaide observer.
Related names :

Dehane, George

Penny, Richard

Adelaide independent and cabinet of amusement (Adelaide, S. Aust.)

Adelaide observer (Adelaide, S. Aust.)

South Australian register (Adelaide, S. Aust.)

Further reading :
Marquis, Len. Address by Len Marquis [sound recording], 19 April 1988, OH 142/6



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