The Weekly Register commenced with the declaration that 'having undergone a political martyrdom, and having had our fabled deeds recorded in apocryphal Chronicles, we rise again like the phoenix'. The newspaper committed itself to 'contribute of such good sense, moderate acquirements, and honesty of purpose as God has imparted to us, to support the rights, and advance the position and interests of the people of our adopted country'.
The Weekly Register covered colonial news under the heading 'Domestic Intelligence' and included extensive reporting on the debates of the Legislative Council and the local Sydney City Council. English news featured accounts of resolutions in the British Parliament. General news was drawn from Sydney and its surrounding districts as well as from Port Phillip and Van Diemen's Land.
The Weekly Register initially included a 'Ladies' Register' but this section was later dropped. The 'Literary Register' section remained a permanent feature of the newspaper and regularly included the work of colonial poets, particularly Henry Halloran, Charles Harpur and Henry Parkes (qq.v.). The 'Literary Register' also carried articles on contemporary British poets and ran a series on 'Notable Men' from a range of historical periods and countries. A collection of biographical essays titled 'Heads of Australian People' featured eminent citizens of the colony and included an illustration of each 'head'.
The Register's theatre reviews covered performances at the Victoria and the City Theatre and space was often given to new musical performances. The compositions of Isaac Nathan (q.v.) were highlighted in the newspaper's pages. As with other colonial papers of the 1840s, the Weekly Register covered shipping intelligence, births and deaths, and commercial advertising (particularly for land sales). The Register gave considerable space to instructional essays on agricultural cultivation and it also included lists of books for sale at Duncan's Repository of English and European Literature.
The Weekly Register's editorial stance was strongly opposed to the views expressed in the Atlas (edited for a time by Robert Lowe (q.v.)). The Register's editor, William Duncan (q.v.), was a supporter of the colonial governor, Sir George Gipps, and Gipps's policies. Duncan used the Register's pages to raise several political debates with the Atlas and its editorial opinions.