Historical information

The Warrnambool Examiner was founded by John Wilkinson and Richard Osburne in 1851. After a gap pf 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 this history. Fairfax and Laurie were the proprietors when the papers described herein were printed. William Fairfax was a member of the Fairfax family which was, and still is, 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 Warrnanbool City Council storage area and it is surmised that they may have come from the old Warrnambool Museum which no longer exists.

Physical description

These are original Warrnambool Examiner newspapers from 4th January 1870 to 30th September 1870. There are two complete sets, one bound with a green/yellow/brown cardboard cover, with brown binding and the pages glued together and the other with a brown and blue cover with the same brown binding and glued pages. The papers are broadsheets of two pages printed back to back. Both sets contain an Almanac for 1870 and all pages are unmarked and in good condition.