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SA Newspapers

The State Library has a unique collection of the State's newspapers from 1836 to the present day. Selected newspapers will continue to be added to this site.

SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

SA Newspapers


SA newspaper titles A - Z 
Place of publication A - Z 
Early history 
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Illustrated newspapers 
Journalists of South Australia 
Non-English language newspapers 
Online newspapers 
Pen names of SA journalists & cartoonists 
Religious newspapers 
Trove : Historic Australian Newspapers, 1803 to 1954 in digital format 
Locate a Trove newspaper on a map       

The history of the South Australian press begins in June 1836 when partners Robert Thomas and George Stevenson printed the first issue of the South Australian gazette and colonial register in London, shortly before the two men set sail with their families for the experimental colony. With them was the equipment needed to set up a newspaper in the 'wilderness'. Due to various setbacks it was a little over a year before the second issue of the newspaper appeared, printed in a rush hut off Hindley Street - in modern day Register Street. In 1838 their first competitor, the Southern Australian, was established, heralding a golden age of decentralised, prolific newspaper output. By 1846, just ten years after the Europeans' arrival, there were five newspapers serving the infant colony. At any period from the mid 1860s to the end of the nineteenth century there were between 17 and 23 newspapers serving metropolitan readers - as well as a growing number of country newspapers.

South Australia can claim several national newspaper firsts - the first illustrated newspaper and newspaper cartoons (Adelaide independent 1841), the first non English newspaper (Die Deutsche Post 1848), and the first lady cartoonist - Margaret Little of the short-lived Ephemera in 1876. The completion of the Overland Telegraph Line in 1872 linked Adelaide direct with London, giving the colony a monopoly on overseas news reporting for the next thirty years.

By the 1860s two newspaper companies had emerged as South Australia's major media contenders - the Register (formerly the South Australia gazette and colonial register) and the Advertiser. Both were mini-corporations of the time, producing weekend and evening newspapers, and competing for readership through ever-improving technology which included evolving illustration techniques. Both these dailies pursued a keen competition. Eventually, in 1931, at the height of the Great Depression, they were forced to amalgamate.

The State Library of South Australia and its forerunners since the 1838 Adelaide Mechanics' Institution have amassed a comprehensive collection of the newspapers of the state. Since 1957 the Library has been one of the few state libraries to collect all the varying editions of the state's newspapers. An extensive programme of microfilming newspaper titles began in 1959 and continues still. Today it is estimated that the South Australian newspaper collection is 95 per cent complete, with in excess of 450 individual titles.

Trove, an online service from the National Library of Australia, includes digital versions of a number of SA newspapers (city and country) for the period 1836 to 1954. Locate a Trove newspaper on a map.



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