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.'
Has serialised the following literary material outside AustLit's Scope:
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'
A picaresque series of sea adventures, told by sailor Martin Vallance.