Originally promoted in a prospectus dated 8 September 1854 by the Cooke brothers operating under the business name of Messrs. Francis Cooke and Co., General Merchants and Stock Owners, the Age was forty-eight hours from closure before the end of the year. This was avoided by compositors and other staff and supporters banding together to form a co-operative. This arrangement continued until 6 June 1856 when the chief editor Ebenezer Syme bought the paper at auction and became its sole proprietor. (In his biography of David Syme, Ambrose Pratt suggests that the Age was saved from an even earlier closure by its sympathetic coverage of the events at the Eureka Stockade.)
'The Melbourne Age newspaper dominated the newspaper stage in Australia from the 1870s to the end of the colonial period. In the 1880s its circulation was far in excess of any other daily throughout all British colonial possessions and its proprietor, the driven, talented Scotsman David Syme, was acknowledged as the leader of the Australian press. For the influence that he and his newspapers exercised, he became a legend in his lifetime and for several generations after his death in 1908.
'Drawing on family and business records as well as newly digitised nineteenth-century newspaper archives, this biography of a powerful man of many parts seeks to go behind the legend and round out the story of the life – primarily as press ‘baron’ but also as author and philosopher, financier, farmer, property developer and, not least, family man.' (Publication summary)
Siblings Pippa, Alan, and Lynne Dawson and their friends Mick and Rob are staying in a Sydney boarding house. While swimming one day, they save an injured English boy from drowning, and hear footsteps running away. While they decided what to do, they take him to recover in their boarding house. The boy proves to have amnesia, and the Dawson family take him to their home at Wallaby Hill. Subsequent adventures include Tim winning a game of rugby for Alan's team (despite not being able to remember if he'd ever played before), attacks on Tim in the street, an abduction by Tim's 'Uncle Albert', Tim running away to keep his friends safe and finding work on an outback farm, a reuniting with the Dawsons, the recovery of Tim's memory after he is deliberately kicked in the head during an important rugby game, embezzlement, and the final confrontation with the would-be assassins, whom 'Tim' lets go after making them promise that they will become good citizens.