Geelong Advertiser … can’t research without it!

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Geelong Advertiser 9 January 1841 p1Just 175 years and 3 days ago the first edition of the Geelong Advertiser was published – November 21, 1840 in fact.  It is Victoria’s OLDEST morning newspaper.  The banner for the Geelong Advertiser includes the words “Fortis est veritas” or THE TRUTH IS STRONG.

Map of Corio from the Geelong Advertiser 9 Jan 1841On Saturday January 9, 1841, a supplement to the (then) standard 4-page issue 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!]

We’re celebrating the 175th birthday of this wonderful paper and as a researcher and historian [local and family], I am so fortunate to be able to search and access the digitised version of the Geelong Advertiser from 1840 to 1926.  Of course researchers are greedy and we want more and more to appear online.  Hopefully funds will become available to continue the digitising.

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!

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] the paper is so important to many researchers.

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.

It is full of people and local history – an absolute goldmine for researchers.  If you are researching past 1926, in Victoria the Addy is on microfilm at the State Library of Victoria and the Geelong Heritage Centre.

From all of us … “Happy Birthday to the Geelong Advertiser“!


0 Responses

  1. Martin Hooper

    What an interesting read and I love old maps…. In my research on (old) Jan Juc/ (now) Bellbrae I have found GA on-line to be a heaven-sent resource…Well done Suzie and the Addy…

    Martin Hooper Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2015 01:54:02 +0000 To:

  2. genevieve

    Thank you for that Susie. I did read the bio of James Harrison…not to detract from the man! but the article says he founded the Geelong Register…I do believe it was Graham Berry (who then later purchased the Geelong Advertiser), but I will check with my family historian who knows all things Berry (he is our gr. gr. grandfather). cheers, genevieve

    • Susie Zada

      Considering the number of different submitters to the Australian Dictionary of Biography over the decades it’s not surprising at the number of errors in it. You’re welcome to try to get amendments / changes – I know some people who have been trying for years! It’s quite interesting the contradictory statements re the Geelong Register in a number of different publications. Harrison supposedly produced the first issue 3 April 1865 – from the same premises and same press as the Advertiser! By 10 September 1866 the imprint of the Geelong Register showed that it was ‘published by Downie and Thompson for the Proprietors Berry and McCann’ – more than a year after Harrison first published it. As I said, so many contradictory entries from supposedly reliable sources!

  3. Genevieve

    Susie, I stand corrected by a number of Trove sourced articles….Harrison does seem to have begun the publishing of The Geelong is wikipedia which got it wrong in their article on Berry. So yay for the ADofB! If anyone is interested in an even longer article on Harrison than the link to the ADofB entry provides, here is a very comprehensive Geelong Advertiser article on him:
    cheers, genevieve

  4. Susie Zada

    Hi Genevieve – as I said – plenty of contradictory statements! But Berry definitely appears to have had a financial interest in the Register at one stage. I confess to having a huge admiration for all that HARRISON did, particularly with refrigeration. An amazing story.

  5. Liz Dedman Seaton

    Long live the digitised Geelong Addy! It gives us more pieces for our family jigsaw puzzles, such as ancestors’ membership to Lodges, poetry recitations at social events and meetings, prize winners at the Geelong Dog and Poultry Shows, Sports and School awards, School concert performances, funeral attendees, descriptions of wedding outfits and who gave what and to whom as a wedding present, letters from those on active service, who had unclaimed mail, whose house was sold, and a thousand other things.Exposing the good, the bad and anything in between.
    It has opened the door to info about my family that I would have otherwise not known..

    Thank you Susie for guiding us into these further treasures such as Mr Harrison.

    Liz Dedman Seaton

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