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Australian Colonial Intelligence

Newspapers and Letters


Dear Grandpa Pencil looks at early Australian development through journals, official reports and newspaper excerpts of the day. Readers should remember that these accounts are based on personal observations at the time and some have, since, been shown to be flawed.

Newspapers and Letters is drawn from an article in The Seven Colonies of Australasia, 1895 - 6 by T. A. Coghlan

Few things show more clearly the social superiority of a civilized people than a heavy correspondence and a large distribution of newspapers.

In these respects all the colonies of Australasia have for many years been remarkable.

In proportion to the population it is doubtful whether any country in the world can boast of a larger number or a better class of newspapers than they publish.

Great advances have been made in this respect since 1871, and the rate of progress, both in number and in excellence of production, has been even more rapid between 1881 and the present time.

There are no means of correctly estimating the number of newspapers actually printed and distributed in the colonies, because the Post-office carries but a small proportion of the circulation.

For purposes of comparison with other countries, however, it may be stated that during the year 1894 no less than 96,044,800 newspapers passed through the Post-offices of the various colonies, giving the large proportion of 23 per head of population.

In the same year the number of letters and post-cards carried was 190,919,200, being 46 for every man, woman and child in the Australasia.

An examination of the statistics of other countries shows that the people of the colonies stand second among the world's populations in this respect.

The inhabitants of Great Britain have a larger correspondence per head, but the people of no other nation can approach the Australasians.


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