Archive for the ‘Newspapers’ Category

British Newspaper Archive logo

British Newspaper Archive logo

The British Newspaper Archive is a new online resource available at any of the Shire’s libraries at Bermagui, Bega, Merimbula and Eden.

It’s really worth checking out as newspaper articles can supplement your family or local history research wonderfully. News articles give you a real feel of an historical event and what really happened – events in Australia did get reported in British newspapers. For example, in a 1936 issue of the Portsmouth Evening News there is the story of how firemen raced through the night from Sydney to Twofold Bay to put out a blaze on the Orient liner, Ormonde, which had pulled into Twofold Bay once the fire was discovered at sea.

You can search the digitised copies of hundreds of local and regional newspapers from across the United Kingdom and Ireland dating from 1710-1959. New pages are added every day.

The big plus for family history researchers is that you can search for birth, marriage and death notices in these historical newspapers as well as obituaries, notices of engagements, anniversaries, land sales and other family related announcements.

Newspapers provide a glimpse of major national and local events through the eyes of ordinary people in the community. Reports of significant events such as World War One give a sense of the impact of the event on your ancestor and the community they lived in. Newspapers are useful as a source of photographs as well.

Anyone can access The British Newspaper Archive while they are in one of the Shire libraries at Bermagui, Bega, Merimbula or Eden. There is a one-off registration process and library staff can help with that and with searching.

By registering you get access to a personal folder called My Research where you can save articles of interest or for follow-up.


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Bega  Standard office about 1899. This image is from the collections of the State Library of NSW. At Work and Play – 02227

Bega Standard office about 1899. This image is from the collections of the State Library of NSW. At Work and Play – 02227

One of Bega’s historical newspapers, the Bega Standard, is now searchable online for the years 1876-1884 through the National Library of Australia’s Trove discovery tool.

Beginning life in 1868 as the Southern Standard, the newspaper was sponsored by Robert William Sharpe and began operating in opposition to the established Bega newspaper of the time, the Bega Gazette. In 1872, Mr P. Quinlivan purchased the Southern Standard. This was about the fourth change in ownership since its establishment 4 years earlier.

In 1873, Fred Berne bought the newspaper from Mr Quinlivan.

In 1870, Laurence John O’Toole arrived in Bega from Wollongong. He had previously worked as a journalist for the Illawarra Mercury. O’Toole worked for Fred Berne at the Southern Standard, which, after Berne’s accidental death by drowning in 1874, was bought by William Neilley. O’Toole joined Neilley as a partner a few months later and they changed the name to the Bega Standard. At that time the newspaper boasted a circulation of 400 copies.

O’Toole left the Bega Standard in 1875 and went to Sydney working for the Sydney Evening News. He was sent back to the South Coast to report on the recently discovered gold fields near Bermagui – the Montreal fields.

In the 1870’s the Bega Standard was published once a week, every Saturday morning. By the end of 1882 publication had increased to twice a week with a Wednesday and Saturday edition. A quarterly subscription to the paper cost 4s., 6d.

Walter Archibald Smith joined the Bega Standard as an apprentice aged 14 in 1888. In the late 1890’s, ownership of the newspaper changed to William Duff and in 1901, the Bega Standard was bought by Harry Jardine. The Bega Gazette was struggling so Smith bought it out with Mr P. W. Tarlinton and they changed its name to the Southern Star. After a few years Smith bought Tarlinton out and gained sole ownership.

In 1923, Smith and Jardine worked together to buy out the Bega Budget. They then successfully amalgamated their newspapers (Southern Star and Bega Standard) to form the Bega District News which still operates today.

The Bega Standard’s offices were originally located in Auckland Street, Bega and later moved to premises built by Jardine on East Carp Street.

W. A. Bayley, 1987, History of Bega, G. G. Monaghan, 1987
Florance, Sandra, 2001, Howard’s Way: The Howard Families of Bega 1800 – 2000, Numbugga, N.S.W. : S. Florance.

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