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 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 of information for historians. These papers are also of importance because some parts of the 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 that no longer exists.

Physical description

These are two sets bound together of original Warrnambool Examiner newspapers from 3rd January 1871 to 31st March 1871 and from 4th April 1871 to 27th June 1871. The individual copies are broadsheets of two pages printed on the four sides. The original cover of Set One has been replaced with plain grey cardboard and Set Two has a plain cardboard cover. The advertisements and public notices have been heavily marked by an editor with blue and red pencil. Some of the page edges are a little tattered.