Geelong Advertiser … update!

One thing my previous blog proved – a LOT of people believe that the Geelong Advertiser is an important newspaper and that it should be part of the National Library of Australia Newspaper Digitisation project!

Now for the latest and greatest news!

One member of our Geelong & District Mailing List contacted the National Library about the digitisation of the Geelong Advertiser.  The reply she got included a statement that the Geelong Advertiser WAS included in their 2011-12 schedule and that it had been added to the NLA Future Titles – Titles coming soon web site.

The papers are currently being scanned and hopefully would be completed by the end of the financial year [June 2012].  The papers in this lot are:

  • Geelong Advertiser and Squatters’ Advocate (28 May 1845-26 Oct 1847)
  • Geelong Advertiser (29 Oct 1847-20 Dec 1851)
  • Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (22 Dec 1851-9 Aug 1856)

It is important to note that this scanning is being funded by the National Library of Australia and not by the State Library of Victoria.  And I guess that also adds weight to our argument on how important these papers are.

This also fits with the statements made when the Digitised Newspapers project was announced at the Genealogy Congress in Darwin in 2006.  At the time I remember being particularly excited when they announced that one key regional newspaper for each state would be selected as part of the pilot project.  For New South Wales it was the Maitland Mercury [where many of my ancestors lived] and for Victoria it was the Geelong Advertiser.  At the time I remember feeling smugly spoilt!  The Maitland Mercury happened but not the Addy.

Now before you start jumping up and down and yelling and saying that the Addy doesn’t appear on the Future Titles web site [that’s what I did!] … if you do a FIND on the page you’ll find them in the strangest place!   They’re listed under South Australia!  I don’t care where they’ve put them – as long as they are there that’s all that matters.  [And AFTER I posted this blog I noticed that the Geelong Advertiser now belongs to Victoria – right where it should be.]

By now you should have noticed that the papers to be scanned commence 28 May 1845 and the Geelong Advertiser began 21 Nov 1840 – so what about the issues 1840-1845?

I’m guessing the decision has been made to not repeat what’s already been done or they’re waiting until they can access all the issues missing between 1840 and 1845.

In my previous blog I mentioned that:

Some issues from the first five years of the Geelong Advertiser were digitised as part of the Australian Periodical Publications 1840-1845 project.  It’s available online as single page downloads however it’s not searchable.

Back in 2004 to 2006 I did a lot of work checking these files.  At the time I produced a spreadsheet showing which papers were missing.  I’ve just double checked the spreadsheet and it’s still the same.  I’ll mention a few gaps here but I’ve also uploaded the spreadsheet as an Acrobat file so you can at least check if there are important dates that may already be online.  [ Geelong Advertiser Summary of papers 1840-1845 ]

Some explanations for the “gaps”:

  • There are random omissions – I don’t have an explanation for these.
  • There are NO editions for 1843, hence the jump from 26 Dec 1842 edition No. 110 to 1 Jan 1844 No. 184.
  • There is a strange mixup of edition numbers from 10 Jul 1844 No. 238 to 15 Jul 1844 No. 230.  A sequence of edition numbers if repeated – and also missing first time around.
  • There are some gaps of almost a month throughout 1844 – no explanation.
  • There is no issue No. 315 however this may never have been produced – following the sequence it would have been for 28 May 1845.  You’ll notice that the name changed 28 May 1845 to Geelong Advertiser & Squatters Advocate – they may have just decided to skip an issue number.
  • The planned scanning for NLA commences with this new title on 28 May 1845.

It’s possible that someone on our Geelong & District Mailing List may have done more detailed research into the missing / existing issues and can give us an update.

In the meantime let’s celebrate the imminent digitisation of a good chunk of the Geelong Advertiser.  Our next task is to confirm the plans for 2012-13 – hopefully the scanning won’t stop at 1856.

I know a LOT of people will be getting a LOT of sleepless nights once the Addy hits TROVE – in the meantime you’ve got nearly six months to store up some extra sleep to compensate for the last half of the year!

Geelong Advertiser … where is it?

The banner for the Geelong Advertiser includes the words “Fortis est veritas” or THE TRUTH IS STRONG.

From the Geelong Advertiser web site:

The Geelong Advertiser is Victoria’s oldest morning newspaper, the first edition being published on November 21, 1840.

A mere 171 years ago today, the Geelong Advertiser included a supplement to the (then) standard 4-page issue.  The supplement was this amazing “Map of the Town of Corio (or Geelong) including the Suburbs, the Bay, and the River, 1841 … printed and published for John Pascoe Fawkner by Harrison & Watkins, Corio”.

And what a huge amount of history is in the map and the names associated with it – not least of which is James Harrison a true pioneer of our region.  [Do yourself a favour and actually click on the link to read the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry for this truly amazing man!]

So why am I writing this blog today?  There are TWO reasons …

  1. Today I published a blog to announce that we had achieved more than one million records in our Geelong & District database.  This amazing effort is due to a heap of volunteers who have just one aim – to help others research their family and local history – a totally unselfish attitude by all involved.
  2. I’m CROSS – and it’s time I got on my soap box.

ANYONE with an ounce of history running through their veins knows how much history exists in our region.  I have given presentations all over Victoria and also in New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.  Many have been on Geelong and Point Henry (the place of arrival of so many ships bringing immigrants to our shores) but the majority have been on other local and family history subjects.  Without fail the majority of the audience had ancestors who arrived in Geelong / Point Henry.  In June 2011 I gave four presentations to the Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory [GSNT] – almost 100% of the audience had Geelong connections!

Using the National Library of Australia catalogue, I have confirmed the following places where people can access the “full” Geelong Advertiser, either on microfilm or hard copy, to do their research:

Of course, being the LONGEST RUNNING morning newspaper in Victoria AND the newspaper covering not just Geelong but all of the western district of Victoria [and across the border into South Australia] you would think it would be a high priority to be included in the wonderful Digitised Australian newspapers web site.

Have a look at this amazing list of places already included in the Victorian newspapers that have been digitised or are on the 2011-12 list to be digitised:

Acheron

Alexandra

Ararat

Avenel

Bacchus Marsh

Bairnsdale

Balaclava

Ballarat

Balmattam

Bellarine Shire

Benalla

Bourke

Box Hill

Brighton

Broadford

Broadmeadows

Bulla

Buln Buln

Callignee

Camperdown

Casterton

Caulfield

Cheltenham

Coburg

Colac

Dalhousie

Dromana

Drysdale

East Bourke

East Brighton

Elsternwick

Eltham

Emerald Hill

Essendon

Euroa

Evelyn

Fitzroy

Footscray

Frankston

Gippsland

Gobur

Healesville

Heyfield

Horsham

Hurstbridge

Keilor

Kerang

Kilmore

Kyabram

Lilydale

Longwood

Maffra

Malvern

McIvor

Melbourne

Melton

Mentone

Merino

Miepoll

Mildura

Mirboo

Mordialloc

Mornington

Morwell

Narracan Shire

Normanby

North Melbourne

Oakleigh

Omeo

Point Lonsdale

Portarlington

Portland

Portsea

Prahran

Queenscliff

Reedy Creek

Ringwood

Rodney Shire

Sandford

Sandringham

Somerville

Sorrento

South Bourke

South Brighton

South Melbourne

St Leonards

Stawell

Strathbogie

Sunbury

Sunshine

Swan Hill

Taggerty

Tambo

Thornton

Toongabbie

Towong

Traralgon

Tyers

Upper Yarra

Violet Town

Wandin Yallock

Warragul

Warrnambool

Werribee Shire

West Gippsland

Whittlesea

Williamstown

Wimmera

Wodonga

Yarck

Yarra Glen

Yea

 

 

So what’s missing?  GEELONG !

If the Geelong Advertiser was digitised this list of places would double as it covers so many towns and districts in Western Victoria.

Verbally we’ve been told that if the Geelong Advertiser was digitised it would gobble up the annual newspaper digitising budget for the State Library of Victoria and that wouldn’t be fair on every other area of Melbourne and Victoria.  But is that fair on Geelong and half of the rest of Victoria?

What pre-1850 Victorian newspapers have been digitised for the NLA site?

  • 1842: Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser
  • 1846: The Argus

And what about 1850-1860?

  • 1855: The Star [Ballarat]
  • 1856: Williamstown Trade Circular and Williamstown Chronicle

That’s it!  The Port Phillip Herald was digitised some years ago and is available [not free] as part of the Paper of Record web site, hence the reason it’s not included on the NLA site.

Did you know that the Geelong Advertiser published lists of people who shipped gold from the gold-fields to the port of Geelong in 1851-54?  We have 6,624 entries in our Geelong & District database for the gold shipments.  In fact our database includes 29,413 entries transcribed from various editions of the Geelong Advertiser on a variety of subjects.

There is no argument … the Geelong Advertiser should be digitised as part of the National Library Digitised Newspapers project.

What can we do about it?

If you look at the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program for 2011-12 you’ll get an idea from the bottom of the page about the funding sources to get some newspapers into the program.  Of course there is no limit to where funding and/or support can come from:

  • the newspaper [Geelong Advertiser] and associates
  • the local council [City of Greater Geelong] and nearby  and western Victorian municipalities
  • private individuals and organisations
  • Federal and State funding including heritage / history type grants
  • other sources for grants / funding
  • petitioning the State Library of Victoria
  • petitioning State and Federal members of parliament
  • contributions from local societies and organisations

I’m an individual – I can’t do it all [apart from working 5-days a week] – but let’s get something moving!

OK – that’s my soapbox all worn out for now – come on everyone, come up with ideas and actions to help get the Geelong Advertiser digitised for the benefit of ALL researchers.

P.S. I almost forgot to mention that some issues from the first five years of the Geelong Advertiser were digitised as part of the Australian Periodical Publications 1840-1845 project.  It’s available online as single page downloads however it’s not searchable.

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