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Mannum mercury and farmers' journal
Title : Mannum mercury and farmers' journal Mannum mercury and farmers' journal
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Source : Mannum mercury and farmers' journal, 29 January 1915, p. 1
Date of creation : 1915
Format : Newspaper
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of the Courier (F. Teare Marston Pty. Ltd.). It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from the Courier (F. Teare Marston Pty. Ltd.) and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :
The Mannum mercury and farmers' journal presents a microcosm of attitudes to the First World War, as seen in an Australian country town. Founded two years before the war began, the newspaper ceased at the height of the conflict, in early 1917. Its articles reflect the patriotic fervour, anti-German sentiment and first-hand tragedies the war brought. From the outbreak of the war, reports of the conflict appeared on the front page between advertisements and other news items. Local reactions to the event, described in articles further inside the newspaper, are one of its most interesting features. In January 1915 the Mannum Allgeimeiner Deutscher Verein decided that as Australia was at war with Germany, it would be politic to change the association's German name to the 'Mannum Club.' However, the president, Wilhelm Dahl, was unexpectedly asked to resign for having expressed 'disloyalty to the British Crown' during a discussion some months earlier (15 January 1915, p. 3). The pages of the Mannum mercury erupted in a stream of letters over this issue, even two regular columnists, the Rev. Harold Carne and the shadowy 'Sine dubio' ('Without doubt'), took sides over the issue. The debate highlighted the tensions in a district which had significant numbers of residents of both British and German descent. 'Sine dubio' pointed out that Dahl's accusers 'should remember that they are naturalized foreigners and should be careful lest the tide may turn' (22 January 1915, p. 3).

The Federal government twice attempted to introduce Conscription, in 1916 and 1917. This was a particularly controversial matter in the country, with labour already short on the farms. Debate around the proposed referendum ran high, the Mercury editor (Lance Thomson) was even challeneged via an anonymous letter about why he had not volunteered for active service. An anti-conscription meeting in the Mannum Institute was attended by 600 people, but 'it is estimated that 80% of those present are of German descent, the majority of whom are in favour of anti-conscription' noted the paper (27 October 1916, p. 4). Such was the level of emotion that the introduction of compulsory enrolment for home service saw an attempted suicide by one young man. Regular reports about local men on active service were interspersed with reports of the Pompoota training farm for returned soldiers. Local enlistees even met up with each other on the other side of the world.

News from the front. Mr C. Perrow of Mannum, received news during the week that his adopted son (Private R. Payne) had been killed in the trenches and sympathy is expressed with the relatives of the brave lad ... Private Jack Dodd, in writing home to Mannum, stated that in walking through the streets of London he collided with the two Mazzarol brothers ... Mr D. Diercks has had letters from his son Oscar ... (15 September 1916, p. 4)

In its early years the Mercury gave wide coverage to news from the myriad of tiny settlements covered by the 'Murray electorate'. Forty different places received news coverage at one time or another. This kind of coverage is common to country newspapers of the period. Local sport was well reported, with hockey and rowing being mentioned regularly, as well as cricket, football, boxing, coursing, billiards and tennis. The last riverboats were still plying the Murray, and the regular Murray Bridge to Mannum trips of the Nellie, Murrundee and Lancashire Lass were advertised in the Mannum mercury. During the First World War the building of the first lock on the Murray, at Blanchetown, began. By 1913 the newspaper had increased from four to five pages and later to six pages, before dropping back to four pages in 1916 with wartime restrictions. Early moving picture shows, early motor cars in the district, the rescue by four year old Lillian Fawcett of a drowning child (15 September 1916, p. 1), the celebration of Empire Day and the annual Mannum Regatta, were all reported in the Mannum mercury. The newspaper closed in March 1917 and was taken over by C.M.R. Dumas of the MountBarker Courier. Many years later, in 1997, the title was revived as the Mannum news page in the MurrayValley Standard.

Related names :

Carne, Harold C.

Dahl, Wilhelm

Diercks, Dietrich

Diercks, Dietrich Oscar

Dodd, Jack Laurence

Dumas, Charles Morris Russell

Fawcett, Lillian

Mazzarol, Candido Celeste

Mazzarol, Raymond Douglas

Payne, R.

Perrow, C.

Thomson, Lance R.

Lancashire Lass (Paddle steamer)

Mannum Allgeimeiner Deutsche Verein

Mannum Club

Mannum Methodist Church (Mannum, S. Aust.)

Mount Barker courier (Mount Barker, S. Aust.)

Murray Valley standard (Murray Bridge, S. Aust.)

Murrundee (Paddle steamer)

Nellie (Paddle steamer)

Coverage year : 1915
Place : Mannum (S. Aust.)
Region : Riverland and Murraylands



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