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Australasian Sketcher
Title : Australasian Sketcher Australasian Sketcher
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Source : Australasian sketcher, 29 April 1882, p. [113]
Date of creation : 1882
Format : Newspaper
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Description :

The Australasian sketcher was an early Victorian illustrated newspaper. Based in Melbourne, it included significant South Australian content throughout its lifetime. From December 1874 the Sketcher incorporated WA Cawthorne's Illustrated Adelaide Post.

Adelaide edition From the 26 December 1874, the Sketcher incorporated the Illustrated Adelaide Post. After this date an 'Adelaide edition' was frequently, but not regularly, published. The only difference between the Adelaide edition of the Sketcher and the usual Melbourne edition seems to have been the inclusion of South Australian news and advertisments on the back page, together with the publishing details of WA Cawthorne. The Adelaide news consisted mostly of political and business news. The last Adelaide edition is dated 29 June 1885.

Illustrations Illustrations generally appear on the front cover and in three double-page spreads. Early years of the newspaper give fairly even coverage to all the Australian states and the Northern Territory. However the main news coverage in articles is Victorian. The Victorian content increased from 1876, while illustrations continued to include all Australian states, and also New Zealand. Usually at least one South Australian illustration appears in each issue, although this became less regular from 1880. In the latter months of 1885 articles and sketches depicting New Guinea appeared. There were very few South Australian illustrations in 1888, and only one in 1889. (13 June 1889, p. 88) The Sketcher illustrations include buildings, exhibitions, Aboriginal topics, ships, and prominent people - both Australian and overseas people. At least three Christmas issues (1873, 1882, 1883) included coloured illustrations as a supplement, generally depicting romantic or sentimental subjects.

Bird's eye views The issue of the 10 July 1875 included as a supplement, a 'Bird's eye view' of Adelaide, depicting the city in great detail, as if viewed from the air. This was followed by bird's eye views of Hobart (10 May 1879, p. 24-25), Sydney (6 March 1880, p. 13), Melbourne 16 October 1880, supplement) and Sandhurst (22 October 1884, supplement).

Content of articles The Australian novelist Marcus Clarke was an early contributor to the newspaper. Columns covered theatre, the arts, sport, and serialised stories. The serials were usually Australian romances. Early issues describe such events as the discovery of Ayers Rock by South Australian surveyor William Gosse. (8 September 1874, p. 79) Several articles in 1880 describe and portray the Kelly gang and their capture through July and August 1880, and the trial and execution of Ned Kelly  in November 1880. The issue of 21 August 1880 describes the building of the Melbourne Exhibition Building, and includes interesting descriptions about the transporting of exhibits.

Theatre From 1882 Melbourne theatrical shows were a popular theme for illustrations. Some of the shows depicted no doubt also visited Adelaide.

Sport A regular sporting column was published. The visit of the English cricket team under Captain WG Grace features in articles and illustrations from December 1873. Although the Melbourne match is illustrated, the team also visited South Australia, playing at Kadina. The rise in the popularity of tennis is reflected in many illustrations in the Sketcher in 1882. An unusual item is the 'chess tournament with living members' played at the Adelaide Town Hall in 1883. (14 February 1883, p. 20)

Ownership The Australasian Sketcher was published by Hugh George for Wilson and MacKinnon of the Melbourne Argus. William Anderson Cawthorne clearly had an arrangement with the Argus from December 1874, when it incorporated his Illustrated Adelaide Post. The Argus (and its subsidiary, Australasian Sketcher) was taken over by Goodfellow brothers in June 1875, and printed by Webb, Vardon and Pritchard.

Related names :

Cawthorne, W.A.

Clarke, Marcus, 1846-1881

George, Hugh

Gosse, William Christie, 1842-1881

Ayers Rock (N.T.)

Illustrated Adelaide post (Adelaide, S. Aust.)

Coverage year : 1882
Place : Adelaide ( S. Aust.)



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