y The Empire newspaper  
Note: Wilkes was connected with the Empire from 1859 until ca. 1873, however it is unclear whether he was ever in fact editor. Although many of the obituary notices which appeared at the time of his death referred to him as 'late editor of the Empire', the obituary which appeared in the Empire stated only that he was 'for many years a writer in this journal'.
Date: 1850-1858
Date: 1859-1867
Date: 1867-1875
Issue Details: First known date: 1850; Latest issue indexed: 1874 1850
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Latest Issues

y The Empire no. 8294 28 December 1874 Z1315775 1874 newspaper issue
y The Empire no. 8206 16 September 1874 Z1769775 1874 newspaper issue
y The Empire no. 8176 12 August 1874 Z1812815 1874 newspaper issue
y The Empire no. 8146 8 July 1874 10254517 1874 newspaper issue
y The Empire no. 8129 17 June 1874 Z1314806 1874 newspaper issue

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The Empire was established by Henry Parkes in December 1850, and for much of its life was probably Sydney's second major newspaper, after the more conservative Sydney Morning Herald. It was initially published once a week, but soon afterward appeared as a daily. A weekly version intended for country readers was published from October 1860, through until late 1869.

The Empire commenced publication right at the end of the penal colony era, when New South Wales was entering a period of significant political and social transformation. Under Parkes, the Empire was initially quite a radical publication and in its early period it continued the radical press tradition which briefly flourished in early to mid-19th century Sydney. However, from about the time Parkes entered politics in May 1854, he increasingly used the newspaper to promote his own political career, and it became essentially a mouthpiece of Parkes the politician.

Parkes's connection with the Empire ended abruptly in August 1858, when he became insolvent. The newspaper then ceased publication for some nine months until revived by printers Samuel Bennett and William Hanson in May 1859. Under the new proprietors, the Empire became a far more staid affair, and whilst it continued as a trenchant critic of the old order, it adopted what was in effect a mid-19th century liberal position, advocating moderate political and social reform rather than utopia.

In July 1867, Hanson was forced to relinquish his interest in the Empire by the newspaper's major creditor, after which Bennett became the sole proprietor. Whether Hanson had become a victim of Bennett's own publishing ambitions is unclear, but within weeks of Hanson's departure, Bennett moved to expand his newspaper stable by launching the Evening News, which subsequently became his flagship. From about this point the Empire became a second string publication, cut to four pages and pruned of much of its once formidable editorial and literary content.

By the time Bennett launched his weekly Australian Town and Country Journal in January 1870, the Empire's fate was probably sealed, although it lingered on until February 1875, when Bennett eventually shut it down during a compositors' strike. Presumably by this point the Empire was no longer profitable.

Notes

  • Contents indexed selectively.
  • All Empire issues for the year 1868 were indexed during 2014 as part of the Colonial Newspapers and Magazines Project.
  • ‘Throughout 1868 The Empire periodically published selected anecdotal pars from overseas sources. Pars were sometimes published with a source attribution. The editor's actual source for the pars is not always clear. The attributed international sources for pars in The Empire include:

    Once a Week (London, England) (see for example, 'Editorial Troubles', 30 January 1868: 8)

    Fun (London, England) (see for example, 'Mrs. Brown and the Coals', 7 March 1868: 2)

    The Cleveland Morning Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) (see for example, 'Buried Alive and Shot as a Ghost', 7 March 1868: 3)

    The Argosy (London) (see for example 'The Original Jest Book', 25 April 1868: 2)

  • The issues of the Empire for Friday, 10 January 1868 and Saturday, 6 June 1868 are missing from Australian library holdings and have not been digitised. These issues have therefore not been indexed by AustLit.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1850
Notes:
Digitised issues available for the period 28 December 1850 to 9 February 1875. (Correct as of 11 December 2013.)
Notes:
Publisher varies.
Link: Web resource Digital copy of print publication via Australian Newspapers (AN) Service.

Works about this Work

Rhetoric and the Man : Charles Harpur and the Call to Armed Rebellion Elizabeth Perkins , 1986 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Age Monthly Review , September vol. 6 no. 5 1986; (p. 14-17)
Hostilities Between The Month and the Empire, 1857-8 Robert Dixon , 1979 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , December vol. 39 no. 4 1979; (p. 394-416)
The Politician : Sir Henry Parkes Vance Palmer , 1940-1954 single work biography
— Appears in: National Portraits 1954; (p. 65-74)
Sir Henry Parkes founded The Empire newspaper in 1850 which encouraged discussion of the abolition of transportation, the securing of a liberal constitution, and easy access to land for farmers. Entering the Legislative Council in 1854, Parkes introduced the Public Schools Act in 1866 and encouraged the establishment of schools and cultural institutions throughout settled Australia. Although his policies were often vague and full of contradictions, Parkes was widely admired in his day and, following his death, for his contribution to achieving the Federation of Australia.
Bookfellow's Mixture Alfred George Stephens , 1903 single work biography
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 9 July vol. 24 no. 1221 1903; (p. 2)
Death of Sir Robert Wisdom 1888 single work obituary (for Robert Wisdom )
— Appears in: The Sydney Mail , 24 March 1888; (p. 630)
'At an early period he evinced literary tastes, and whilst yet a youth contributed to the Press. Some of his verses, written when about 18 years of age, appeared in the early numbers of The Empire at a time when it was conducted by Sir Henry Parkes...'
Sir Henry Parkes and His Poetry A Lady Critic , 1888 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Centennial Magazine , November vol. 1 no. 4 1888; (p. 213-216)
Metropolitan District Court 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 17 June 1868; (p. 3)
Hanson v Bennett 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser , 20 June 1868; (p. 2)
Untitled 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Empire , 1 January no. 5028 1868; (p. 2)

This editorial, on the progress and availability of newspapers in colonial New South Wales (in particular The Empire and The Evening News), ends with a quotation from William Cullen Bryant's 'Thanatopsis'.

Untitled 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Empire , 2 January no. 5029 1868; (p. 2)

The leader writer for The Empire comments on the decision of The Sydney Morning Herald to reduce its price one day after The Empire began publishing as a penny daily.

Removal of the 'Empire' Office 1868 single work advertisement
— Appears in: The Empire , 31 December no. 5338 1868; (p. 2) The Empire , 31 December no. 5338 1868; (p. 1) The Empire , 30 December no. 5337 1868; (p. 2) The Empire , 30 December no. 5337 1868; (p. 1) The Empire , 29 December no. 5336 1868; (p. 2) The Empire , 29 December no. 5336 1868; (p. 1)

The Empire advises its readers that it will relocate to a new office, 'near the corner of Pitt and King streets, almost opposite Mr Moffitt's, bookseller', as of 21 December 1868.

The Empire Is Now Issued as a Penny Morning Paper 1868 single work advertisement
— Appears in: The Freeman's Journal , 11 January vol. 19 no. 1292 1868; (p. 15)

An advertisement providing information on the price of the Empire.

The Empire Newspaper and Mr. Henry Parkes 'A Plebeian' , 1858 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Moreton Bay Courier , 15 September 1858; (p. 2-3)
Fragment of a Lay of Modern Sydney : An 'Imitation' i "The Sydney Morning Herald in its clearest type it swore,", 'Singsmalley' , 1858 single work poetry satire
— Appears in: The Empire , 4 March 1858; (p. 5)
The Leaven of Vindictiveness at it Again 'Foig-a-Ballagh' , 1856 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 19 November 1856; (p. 3)
A Lay of Modern Sydney : The Nomination i "Parkesennery of Sydney", 'True Blue' , 1856 single work poetry satire
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 13 October 1856; (p. 5)
Death of Sir Robert Wisdom 1888 single work obituary (for Robert Wisdom )
— Appears in: The Sydney Mail , 24 March 1888; (p. 630)
'At an early period he evinced literary tastes, and whilst yet a youth contributed to the Press. Some of his verses, written when about 18 years of age, appeared in the early numbers of The Empire at a time when it was conducted by Sir Henry Parkes...'
The Politician : Sir Henry Parkes Vance Palmer , 1940-1954 single work biography
— Appears in: National Portraits 1954; (p. 65-74)
Sir Henry Parkes founded The Empire newspaper in 1850 which encouraged discussion of the abolition of transportation, the securing of a liberal constitution, and easy access to land for farmers. Entering the Legislative Council in 1854, Parkes introduced the Public Schools Act in 1866 and encouraged the establishment of schools and cultural institutions throughout settled Australia. Although his policies were often vague and full of contradictions, Parkes was widely admired in his day and, following his death, for his contribution to achieving the Federation of Australia.
The Leaven of Vindictiveness at it Again 'Foig-a-Ballagh' , 1856 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 19 November 1856; (p. 3)
The Empire Newspaper and Mr. Henry Parkes 'A Plebeian' , 1858 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Moreton Bay Courier , 15 September 1858; (p. 2-3)
Fragment of a Lay of Modern Sydney : An 'Imitation' i "The Sydney Morning Herald in its clearest type it swore,", 'Singsmalley' , 1858 single work poetry satire
— Appears in: The Empire , 4 March 1858; (p. 5)
A Lay of Modern Sydney : The Nomination i "Parkesennery of Sydney", 'True Blue' , 1856 single work poetry satire
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 13 October 1856; (p. 5)
Metropolitan District Court 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 17 June 1868; (p. 3)
Hanson v Bennett 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser , 20 June 1868; (p. 2)
Sir Henry Parkes and His Poetry A Lady Critic , 1888 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Centennial Magazine , November vol. 1 no. 4 1888; (p. 213-216)
Bookfellow's Mixture Alfred George Stephens , 1903 single work biography
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 9 July vol. 24 no. 1221 1903; (p. 2)
Rhetoric and the Man : Charles Harpur and the Call to Armed Rebellion Elizabeth Perkins , 1986 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Age Monthly Review , September vol. 6 no. 5 1986; (p. 14-17)
Hostilities Between The Month and the Empire, 1857-8 Robert Dixon , 1979 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , December vol. 39 no. 4 1979; (p. 394-416)
Untitled 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Empire , 1 January no. 5028 1868; (p. 2)

This editorial, on the progress and availability of newspapers in colonial New South Wales (in particular The Empire and The Evening News), ends with a quotation from William Cullen Bryant's 'Thanatopsis'.

Untitled 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Empire , 2 January no. 5029 1868; (p. 2)

The leader writer for The Empire comments on the decision of The Sydney Morning Herald to reduce its price one day after The Empire began publishing as a penny daily.

Removal of the 'Empire' Office 1868 single work advertisement
— Appears in: The Empire , 31 December no. 5338 1868; (p. 2) The Empire , 31 December no. 5338 1868; (p. 1) The Empire , 30 December no. 5337 1868; (p. 2) The Empire , 30 December no. 5337 1868; (p. 1) The Empire , 29 December no. 5336 1868; (p. 2) The Empire , 29 December no. 5336 1868; (p. 1)

The Empire advises its readers that it will relocate to a new office, 'near the corner of Pitt and King streets, almost opposite Mr Moffitt's, bookseller', as of 21 December 1868.

The Empire Is Now Issued as a Penny Morning Paper 1868 single work advertisement
— Appears in: The Freeman's Journal , 11 January vol. 19 no. 1292 1868; (p. 15)

An advertisement providing information on the price of the Empire.

PeriodicalNewspaper Details

Subtitle:
  • Subtitle varies
  • Daily Journal of News, Politics and Commerce
  • Sydney Journal of News, Politics and Commerce
  • Sydney Journal of News, Politics and Change

Frequency:
Frequency varies ; daily (Monday - Saturday) from 20 January 1851 (vol. 1 no. 5)
Range:
  • Vol. 1 no. 1 (Saturday, 28 December 1850) - no. 8331 (Tuesday, 9 February 1875)
  • Publication suspended No. 2387 (28 August 1858) - no. 2388 (23 May 1859)
Continued by:

Has serialised

No Thoroughfare, Charles Dickens , Wilkie Collins , 1867 single work novel
The Tower of the Dreami"How wonderful are Dreams! Yet, are they but", Charles Harpur , 1851-1853 single work poetry
The Night Fossickers of Moonlight Flat, James Skipp Borlase , 1867 single work short story crime
Twank in New Barataria : A Story for the New Year, William Bede Dalley , 1860 single work short story satire
Transactions of the Great Australian Society, 1853 single work short story humour

A series of witty, satirical sketches involving fictional 'transactions' of 'the Great Australian Society'. The sketches are presented as if they were the transactions (reports) of a mid-19th century learned society, and they range from the natural sciences to literature and the arts. The 'transactions' involving the 'belle-lettres' [sic] include lengthy discussions of 'literary productions' by the fictional authors 'Timothy Scrubb' and his poet uncle 'Jeremiah Scrubb'.

The Beautiful, Charles Harpur , 1856-1857 single work criticism

This critical work by Charles Harpur on aesthetics is based around nine poems in his series 'The Beautiful' and two titled poem extensions.

The Story of Little Joe : An Original Tale, Caroline Chisholm , 1859-1860 single work novel
Pencillings from My Portfolio, 1860 series - author column travel
Shot in the Heart, Frederick Sydney Wilson , 1862 single work short story
Uncle John, Robert P. Whitworth , 1862 single work novella
Friar Angelo, Robert Curtis (translator), 1863 single work short story
Tom Wopshott's Christmas Dinner : How He Came by It, and What Came of It, 1867 single work short story
The Old and New Squatter, 1867 single work short story
Remarkable Colonial Characters of the Olden Time : The Scottish Martyrs, 1868 single work prose

The writer for the Empire contends that: 'In the present sensational age, when the demand in the literary world for incidents of the most striking character has become so great, it is somewhat strange that the vast fields presented by the lives of the worthies who figured in the early history of the Australian colonies should have been left comparatively ungleaned. It is true that Henry Kingsley, Charles Reade, Mark Lemon and one or two other celebrated authors have introduced Australian incidents in their works, but the time and place have generally been chosen by these writers after the great revolution which the discovery of gold produced ... From the facts attendant on the career of many of the old convicts a rich harvest might be reaped by the novelist, while to the narrator of things as they really occurred, abundant materials are ready at hand for biographical sketches of the most interesting nature.'

Over two instalments, the writer outlines prospective candidates who could provide literary inspiration.

A Race for a Wife : An Original Bush Story, 'Robert Duffar' , 1868 single work short story romance
The story of an English adventurer at large in the Australian colonies ('Robert Duffar'), who gains the squatter's approval to marry his daughter by riding the squatter's horse to victory at the Wagga Wagga races.
Autobiography of a Sydney Notability, 'Charles Wroughton' , 1868 single work short story

The supposed autobiography of 'Charles Wroughton', a wayward son from a well to do English family. Wroughton migrates to New South Wales, where he makes his fortune as a horse dealer, before returning to England and being welcomed back into respectable society.

About the D—, G. B. Barton , 1868 single work column
A two-part article on representations of the Devil in European literature.
Astonishing the Natives : An Original Tale of the Australian Turf, 'Crites' , 1868 single work novella
Last amended 17 Jun 2014 10:28:39
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