AustLit logo
Alternative title: Catholic Freeman's Journal
Date: 1870-1896
Date: 1866-1869
Date: 1864-1866 Note: According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Dalley was part-proprietor as well as editor of the Freeman's Journal and 'improved both its tone and appearance'.
Date: 1863
Date: 1857-1860
Date: 1856-1857
Date: 1853-1856
Date: 1850-1853
Issue Details: First known date: 1850... 1850 The Freeman's Journal
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The Freeman's Journal was established in June 1850 by Archdeacon John McEncroe as a Catholic newspaper. For much of its life, the Freeman's Journal espoused liberal and non-sectarian views, though it tended to focus mainly on Church and Irish news, rather than on day to day events and political news.

Whilst it was not an official Church newspaper, the Freeman's Journal nevertheless generally supported the official Church line, the exception being during its initial period, when under the editorship of D'Arcy, Moore and then Heydon, it was deeply embroiled in Church politics.

Despite the intentions of its founder, the Freeman's Journal did not always remain aloof from political controversy either. In the later 1860s, under the editorship of radical Irish nationalist Richard O'Sullivan, its strongly sectarian position alienated Catholics and Protestants alike, and following the attempted assassination of H. R. H. Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, in Sydney in 1868, it was targeted by the New South Wales Government for its supposed disloyalty. However, its fortunes were restored during Thomas Butler's editorship, when the newspaper returned to a less sectarian, liberal position, and enjoyed a lengthy period of stability and prosperity.

Following Butler's departure, the Freeman's Journal developed political affiliations with the emerging Labor Party. Throughout its life, the Freeman's Journal remained a consistent advocate and supporter of Catholic education.

The Freeman's Journal's successor, the Catholic Weekly notes that the Journal 'was able to draw on the best minds of the day to become an eminently intelligent source, one that was never out of touch with what was happening in the local community. One of its greatest achievements was its work for Catholic education and its tireless (although unsuccessful in its time) crusade against unfair discrimination of denominational schools.' (


Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1850
      Sydney, New South Wales,: 1850-1932 .
      • Publisher varies.

Works about this Work

A Year in the Life of Victor Daley Frank Molloy , 2000 single work biography
— Appears in: Margin , July-August no. 51 2000; (p. 5-14)
Kendall's Satirical Humour Thomas Thornton Reed , 1982 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Southerly , December vol. 42 no. 4 1982; (p. 363-384)
Another Press Prosecution (International) assertion 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Freeman's Journal , 5 December vol. 19 no. 1339 1868; (p. 12)

The Freeman's Journal reproduces an article from the Dublin Nation detailing the Freeman's prosecution at the hands of Premier and Attorney-General James Martin. The Irish paper concludes: 'But, however the case may go, whether the Journal escapes its present danger or perishes beneath the tyranny of an insolent and stupid official, we can promise the objects of this shameful attack the good wishes of their countrymen at home, and the sympathy of the lovers of independence throughout the world'.

Weekly Summary : [Prosecution in the Supreme Court – Case Delayed] 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Freeman's Journal , 7 November vol. 19 no. 1335 1868; (p. 1)

The Freeman's Journal advises readers that, due to the recent change in the make-up of the New South Wales government, the prosecution of the newspaper has been put back to February 1869. (The case was due to be heard in the Supreme Court on 3 November 1868.)

Bathurst 1868 single work column
— Appears in: The Freeman's Journal , 31 October vol. 19 no. 1334 1868; (p. 10)

A short report on a meeting of the Bathurst 'friends and supporters of the Freeman's Journal' at which it was agreed that the sum of £50 be forwarded to the newspaper's proprietors 'to assist them in defending the case at present pending in the Supreme Court at the instance of the late Attorney-General'.

The Freeman's Journal J. Sheridan Moore , 1857 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Empire , 21 January 1857; (p. 5)
The 'Freman's Journal Readers'[sic] i "One Reader cries, your strain's too grave:", Johnny Oldcove , 1850 single work poetry
— Appears in: The Freeman's Journal , 3 October no. 15 1850; (p. 4)
Kendall's Satirical Humour Thomas Thornton Reed , 1982 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Southerly , December vol. 42 no. 4 1982; (p. 363-384)
A Year in the Life of Victor Daley Frank Molloy , 2000 single work biography
— Appears in: Margin , July-August no. 51 2000; (p. 5-14)
The Freeman's Journal : Available Free of Charge at Holloway's 1868 single work advertisement
— Appears in: The Freeman's Journal , 4 January vol. 19 no. 1291 1868; (p. 16) The Freeman's Journal , 11 January vol. 19 no. 1292 1868; (p. 16) The Freeman's Journal , 18 January vol. 19 no. 1293 1868; (p. 16) The Freeman's Journal , 1 February vol. 19 no. 1295 1868; (p. 16) The Freeman's Journal , 8 February vol. 19 no. 1296 1868; (p. 16) The Freeman's Journal , 15 February vol. 19 no. 1297 1868; (p. 16)

An advertisement advising that Freeman's Journal 'is filed and may be seen, free of charge, at Holloway's, 533, Oxford-street, W. C., (late of 224, Strand) London, where advertisements and subscriptions may be received'.

PeriodicalNewspaper Details

  • Weekly on Thursdays 1850.
  • Twice-weekly 1851-1865.
  • Weekly from 1865.
27 June 1850 - 27 October 1932
Merged with the Catholic Press and later incorporated into the Catholic Weekly, 5 March 1942
Folio initially 8 pages for the first 14 issues then 12 pages, increased to 24 pages from 1865.
Original Terms of subscription from first issue: 5d each number, 5s per quarter or £1 per annum to be paid in advance. After 14 weeks the subscription rates increased to 6d each number, 6s per quarter or £1.4s per annum in advance.
No graphics
Includes advertising
'The oldest weekly newspaper in the Australasian colonies.'

'Irish-Catholic news and intelligence, original and selected articles on religious and general topics, selected poetry.'

Source: Australian Periodicals With Literary Content, 1821-1925. (2003).

Motto : 'In necessariis unitas, in duriis libertas, in omnibus caritas'

'The Freeman's Journal, was printed on an old hand-turned "mangle" in the gallery of St Mary's Seminary, in a building adjacent to the first St Mary's Cathedral.'

Source: (Sighted 11/11/2009).

Has serialised

The Smuggler; a Tale of the West of Ireland, Founded on Fact, single work novel
The Doom of Warnham, single work novel
Many Years Ago at Upfield, single work novella
Mildred and Love Sydnor, single work single work novel
Review : 'Les Odeurs de Paris', A. Laborde , review
— Review of Les Odeurs de Paris Louis Veuillot , 1867 single work prose ;
Last amended 15 Oct 2014 12:33:06
    Powered by Trove