This was one of Australia’s more unusual newspaper dynasties. Between 1839 and 1929, three generations established 18 papers in three countries—16 in Australia—and were involved with two others. The family ceased owning newspapers with the sale of the Uralla Times to the Armidale Newspapers Company Ltd in 1946, but a fourth generation of the Vincents was actively involved in the industry until 1977.
The Vincents’ Australian papers were concentrated mostly across northern New South Wales, including several in Grafton, the Armidale Chronicle, the Glen Innes Examiner, the Gwydir Examiner (Moree), the Kyogle Examiner and, in the Blue Mountains, the Blackheath Bulletin.
The Vincent story began in 1839 with the publication of the first edition of the Western Vindicator (Bath, UK) by Henry Vincent (1813–79). He had become involved in the Chartist Movement, and the paper was a voice for his ideas. Vincent’s radical views twice led to his imprisonment, leading his brother, William Edward Vincent (1821–61) to emigrate to New Zealand in 1841, where he joined the New Zealand Gazette. The second Vincent newspaper, the Wellington Independent, began in 1845.
After a failed diversion into another business, William crossed the Tasman in 1853 and worked for the Sydney Morning Herald before joining John Dunmore Lang’s pro-separatists to establish the Clarence & Richmond Examiner in Grafton in northern New South Wales. When William was pushed out of the paper in 1860, he established the Clarence & Richmond Independent. He died suddenly after just 16 issues.
Following the death of their father, 14-yearold Henry Cleave (1847–1925), supported by 11-year-old Frank Walter (1850–1903), took over the paper. These two boys and their descendants were to spread the Vincent newspaper influence across northern New South Wales.
Many of the papers were small and shortlived; five others continue in the mastheads of today’s changing newspaper world. The Vincents did not establish a single central vehicle to coordinate their newspaper interests, although the Glen Innes Examiner was their effective flagship from 1874 to 1914. (In 1910 the Vincent brothers leased this newspaper to the Powter brothers; it was subsequently bought by E.C. Sommerlad and, in 1924, merged with the Glenn Innes Guardian.) Rather, the Vincents worked with each other in different roles—editor, journalist, printer, publisher—depending on the circumstances of the time.
Roy Stanley Vincent (1892–1965) was one of the founders of the NSW Country Party, a leader of the Northern New State Movement, and a NSW minister (1932–1941). Other family members also played a role in politics and community life, including Henry Cleave St Vincent (1874–1955), who assumed the mantle of ‘head of the tribe’; Ernest (Lloyd) Vincent (1885–1979); and Reginald Henry Vincent (1888–1969).
REF: R. Kirkpatrick, Country Conscience (2000).