y The Empire newspaper  
Date: 1867-1875
Date: 1859-1867
Date: 1850-1858
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'.
The Empire Issue Details: First known date: 1850... 1850
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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)
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)
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)

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
Twank in New Barataria : A Story for the New Year, William Bede Dalley , 1860 single work short story satire
The Night Fossickers of Moonlight Flat, James Skipp Borlase , 1867 single work short story crime
The Tower of the Dreami"How wonderful are Dreams! Yet, are they but", Charles Harpur , 1851-1853 single work poetry
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'.

Last amended 17 Jun 2014 10:28:39
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