Historical information

The Warrnambool Examiner was founded by John Wilkinson and Richard Osburne in 1851. After a gap of a couple of years Richard Osburne resumed publication In October 1853 and continued until October 1867. William Fairfax and Henry Laurie then leased the paper (1867 to 1872) before Richard Osburne again became the proprietor from October 1872 to April 1878 and from December 1870 to December 1880 when publication ceased. Richard Osburne was a pioneer settler in Warrnambool, arriving in 1847. He was prominent in community activities in the town and was a most important early historian, publishing his seminal work, ‘The History of Warrnambool’ in 1887, using the Warrnambool Examiner newspapers to assist with this history. Fairfax and Laurie were the proprietors when these papers were printed. William Fairfax was a member of the Fairfax family that were, and still are, associated with the publication of many Australian newspapers and Henry Laurie later became well-known as a Melbourne University Philosophy Professor.


These original newspapers are most important because they contain much information on Warrnambool’s early history and are a primary source for historians. These papers are also of importance today as some parts of these papers were not filmed and are not currently available on microfilm. These papers were in a Warrnambool City Council storage area and it is surmised that they have come from the old Warrnambool Museum which no longer exists.

Physical description

These are two sets of original Warrnambool Examiner newspapers (1st October 1867 to 31st December 1867 and 3rd January 1868 to 31st March 1868), bound with cardboard, dark blue binding and string. There are six loose pages in front of the first bound set. These are broadsheets of two pages printed back and front. The papers are heavily marked with red and blue pencil and are marked, ‘private copy, F.& L.’ indicating that they are the copies the proprietors, Henry Laurie and William Fairfax, used to annotate the papers for the next edition. The pages are in good condition with some ragged edges.

Inscriptions & markings

‘F & L’
‘Private copy’