Historical information

Richard Osburne (1825-1895) came to Warrnambool in 1847, a pioneer resident in the new settlement. In 1851, with John Wilkinson, he founded Warrnambool’s first newspaper, the Warrnambool Examiner, and issued it weekly for some months until he left the town for the goldfields. Returning in 1853 he resumed publication of the Examiner and continued it, intermittently in its last few years, until 1880. He was acknowledged in his day as the Father of the Warrnambool Press and was a dominant figure in Warrnambool’s early history. In 1882 he went to live in Melbourne, returning to publish his ‘History of Warrnambool’ in 1887.


This book is highly significant as it is an original copy of one of the most important books written on Warrnambool’s history by one of Warrnambool’s most important early settlers (published 1887). Original copies are extremely rare now. The book was given to D.B. Sellars by his first cousin, John Murray, who was Warrnambool’s Parliamentary representative for over 30 years and Premier of Victoria from 1909 to 1912. John Murray’s signature is in the book and this is an important addition. The provenance therefore is of the highest significance. No details are available on the recipient of the book or the donor of the book to the Historical Society.

Physical description

This is an original copy of Richard Osburne’s book on the history of Warrnambool from 1847 to 1886. It is a hard cover buff-coloured book of 284 pages with additional Melbourne and Warrnambool advertisements at the book. There is one fold-up insert (four of the original missing) There are a Preface and Notes from the Author ('To the public in general’ and ‘To my personal friends in the Warrnambool district’)

Inscriptions & markings

Inside front cover: Mr D.B. Sellars from John Murray (in pencil – Premier of Victoria 1909-1912, 1st cousin of D.B.Sellars, Uncle David)
Donated to the Historical Society of Warrnambool in memory of Miss Clemintine MacDonald of Maffra, who died April 1979, aged 91 years. Given by Mrs M.Allen (niece) 72 Grange Road, Sandringham, 3191, 22-7-80