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 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 1879 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 the history. Fairfax and Laurie were the proprietors when the papers describe herein were printed. William Fairfax was a member of the Fairfax family which were, and still are, associated with the publication of many Australian newspapers. 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 because 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 original copies of the Warrnambool Examiner newspapers from 3rd April 1868 to 29th September 1868 inclusive (two copies of each). They are broadsheets of two pages per newspaper printed on the four sides. Both sets are bound with plain cardboard folders, green binding and string. One set cover is broken and this set is unmarked and a bit crumpled. The other set is marked with the editor’s red and blue pencil marks but otherwise the papers are in good condition.