The Bathurst Free Press published poetry by colonial authors under the column banner 'Original Poetry' and reprinted poetry from overseas poets, e.g. Eliza Cook. Includes Miscellaneous extracts and anecdotes reprinted from other sources e.g. Punch. It's major focus was on political policy at home and abroad.
The first page of the first issue of the Bathurst Free Press a 'Note to Subscribers' informs readers that: 'Subscribers to the Bathurst Advocate will learn, we trust without dissatisfaction, that the property has changed hands, as well as title. It occurs to us, as a very fortunate circumstances connected with our present position that we are permitted to speak for ourselves in the plural, rather than the singular number.'
The note continues: ' We shall not affect to be the very "Heralds" of every new-born event, nor to pretend to insinuate that our sources of information are more numerous and authentic than those of the London Times. It will be our principal ambition to be useful without obtrusiveness - entertaining without coarseness - liberal without licentiousness and consistent without obstinacy.'
The editor continues by indicating that literary matters will not be a focus: 'In the selection of our matter, a decided preference will at all times be given to subjects of a local description, and the space occasionally devoted by other journals to the fictions of novel writers, will be occupied by something of a more substantial and profitable character. We do not by any means wish to depreciate a taste for this species of literature, but can scarcely agree in opinion with those who consider the columns of a newspaper as improved by its details.'
The editorial further states (and this is of interest as Farrand, the editor, also reports as Secretary of the Bathurst races): 'Sporting intelligence will prove at all times highly acceptable, and any accurate narrative of such occurrences will entitle the reporter to our very best acknowledgements.'
Initially a weekly newspaper, the editor expressed the hope that 'we shall be enabled ere long, to come out, at least twice a week'.
In 1851, when gold was discovered in the Bathurst District, the newspaper changed its title to the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal and concentrated on reporting mining intelligence and news from the 'diggings'. During this period there is very little literary content.
A reader who signed himself 'A Cornish Miner' wrote to the editor (published 23 November 1850 p.6) to complain about the publication of original poetry in the newspaper: 'Our mining or any other interests which have a tendency to develope (sic) the resources of this ultra-montane [sic] district should take precedence, in your valuable journal, of old-womanish twaddle or poetical stupidity'.
The Bathhurst Free Press published weekly on Saturdays from 6 October 1848 to 24 May 1851.
The Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal published on Wednesday and Saturday between 28 May 1851 and 10 July 1852, then weekly on Saturdays thereafter.
The Bathurst Free Press: Six shillings per quarter, payable in advance. Single numbers, sixpence.
The Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal: Eight shillings per quarter until 31 Dec 1951, then ten shillings per quarter or nine shillings if paid in advance until 21 August 1852 when the subscription is reduduced to seven shillings per quarter. Single numbers, sixpence.
On 28 May 1851 the Bathurst Free Press changed its name to the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal, increased the price of subscription, and changed the publication frequency. For a short time the number of pages printed per week remained the same. The 8 page weekly newspaper became a 4 page biweekly publication. By 12 July 1851 the Saturday edition had 8 pages, the Wednesday edition 4 pages.
On page two of 28 May 1851 edition the editor writes: 'The pressing demands for early intelligence from the Gold Country have induced the proprietor of the "FREE PRESS" to publish a single sheet twice a week from the present time, instead of a weekly double sheet as hitherto'.
By January 1852 both the Wednesday and Saturday were four-page issues. The editor, on page 2 of 21 December 1851 issue, referred to the 'altered shape' of the paper 'without preface or apology' due to 'the uncertainty which pervades all things cismontane since the Bathurst District was discovered to be a Gold Field'. On 17 July 1852 the paper, once again, became a weekly publication issued on Saturdays.