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Alternative title: 'The Illawarra Mercury and Southern Districts Advertiser
Issue Details: First known date: 1855... 1855 The Illawarra Mercury
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

In 1855 Thomas Garrett (1830-1891), later a prominent politician, established The Illawarra Mercury at Wollongong, then a town of 800 people. There was no railway and communication with Sydney was mainly by sea. The Illawarra Mercury was produced on an Eagle hand-operated press and the initial circulation was 200 copies.

Source: Kirkpatrick, Rod, Country Conscience (pp. 21-22)

Between 1856 and 1862 the Illawarra Mercury published: Local Intelligence from the area, Court Reports, Sydney News, Colonial News, European News, Extracts and Sketches, Original Correspondence, Select and Original Poetry. In the issue published on January 7, 1856 the editor informed subscribers: 'we shall commence sending the Mercury to all places south of Wollongong ... [Dapto, Jamberoo, Kiama, Shoalhaven] ...thus furnishing them with Sydney news, and the state of the markets ... our columns will, for the future, contain an account of the Arrivals and Departures of the Sydney Shipping; also of the coasters inwards, laden with colonial produce, which, we believe will be of interest to many.'


Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1855
Publisher varies.
    • Wollongong, Wollongong area, Illawarra, South Coast, New South Wales,: Thomas Garrett , 1855-1950 .
      • Publisher, Proprietor and Printer varies.
      • Digitised issues available for the period 7 January 1856 to 30 June 1950. (Correct as of 12 December 2013.)
      • In June 1859 John Garrett (father of publisher Thomas Garrett) explains to readers that, as he is standing for public office, his association with the Mercury will change from literary input to the commercial side of the business. This indicates that he may have been the editor up to this date. John Garrett was subsequently elected as Member for Shoalhaven. By 1860 he was also Mayor of Wollongong. From the first issue Thomas Garrett was listed as sole proprietor and publisher until v.5 no.35 (27 Jan. 1860) when the publisher's footnote changed to John and Thomas Garrett proprietors; printed and published by Thomas Garrett. This partnership was dissolved on 17 Feb.1862 and sole proprietorship reverted back to Thos. Garrett.
    • Wollongong, Wollongong area, Illawarra, South Coast, New South Wales,: Archibald Campbell , 1888 .
      • Campbell was the printer, publisher and proprietor of the newspaper at this time.

PeriodicalNewspaper Details


From vol. 2 no. 1 (Monday, 6 October 1856) masthead title extended to 'The Illawarra Mercury and Southern Districts Advertiser'

By vol. 13 no. 92 (Tuesday, August 11, 1868) masthead title reads 'The Illawarra Mercury Established 1855 with which is incorporated the Kiama Examiner'

By vol. 33 no. 41 (Tuesday, 3 January 1888) masthead reverts to 'The Illawarra Mercury'

Frequency varies. Originally (1856): weekly on Mondays. From v. 3, no. 14 (Monday, 4 January 1858): bi-weekly on Mondays and Thursdays, changed to Tuesdays and Fridays in Jan. 1860. By 1888 published every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Vol. 1 no. 1 (1855) - vol. 95 no. 8 (Thursday, 5 January 1950)
Continued by:
The Illawarra Daily Mercury (1950-1955)
Varies. vol. 1: eight demy-page with three columns per page ; vol. 2: four double-demy page with six columns per page
  • Originally (1856): 6d per single issue; 6s per quarter paid in advance, 6s 6d on credit
  • From vol. 3 no. 14 (Monday, 4 January 1858): 10s per quarter paid in advance, 10s 6d on credit
  • From vol. 6 no. 53 (Tuesday, 2 April 1861) the price was reduced to 'meet the necessities of the times' with a claim the it was the cheapeast provincial paper in the colonies: 7s per quarter paid in advance, 8s on credit, with an option to pay half-yearly in advance for 13s and yearly in advance for £1.5s
  • By 1868: 6d per single issue; when delivered by mail 6s per quarter, when delivered from office 6s 6d per quarter. In each instance where payment in advance may be made, a reduction of sixpence per quarter will be made
  • By 1888: 3d per single issue; terms: yearly (in advance) £1, quarterly (in advance) 6s, quarterly (on credit) 6s 6d
  • Includes advertising
  • In 1856 the cost of advertising was: 4 lines and under 2s 6d; six lines 3s; eight lines 4s; additional lines 3d
  • By 1868 the cost of advertising was: 4 lines and under 2s; six lines 2s 6d; eight lines 3s; additional lines 3d
Motto: 'Measures, Not Men'

Has serialised

"Scenes of the past, no more on memory throng," The Bridge of Lifei"A river lies beneath me. The blue wave,", Henry Moss , single work poetry
The Last Voyage of Martin Vallance, John Arthur Barry , single work novella adventure

A picaresque series of sea adventures, told by sailor Martin Vallance.

Francisca, the Forest Bridei"Thou bidst me sing in livelier strain,", Henry Moss , single work poetry
Poetry, C. D. Young , single work essay
'The object of poetry is the cultivation of the beautiful, the pathetic and the sublime'.
Musings on the Old and New Yearsi"'T was noon of night,", Henry Moss , single work poetry
Last amended 16 Dec 2013 10:08:56
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