Historical information

The Warrnambool Examiner was founded in 1851 by John Wilkinson and Richard Osburne. 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 this history. Fairfax and Laurie were the proprietors when the papers described herein were printed. William Fairfax was a member of the Fairfax family that was, and still is, associated with the publication of many Australian newspapers. Henry Laurie late 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 of information for historians. These papers are also important because some parts of these original 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 Warrnambool Examiner newspapers from 3th October 1871 to 29th December 1871. They are bound together with a plain cardboard cover and brown side binding with the pages glued together. The individual copies are broadsheets of two pages printed on both sides. The edges of many pages are tattered. The advertisements and public notices have been heavily marked by an editor with red and blue pencil.