Australasian Chronicle


Australasian Chronicle

The Australasian Chronicle. Printed and published by Andrew Bent, of no. 67, Pitt-street, Sydney, for W. A. Duncan, the Editor and Trustee Proprietor.

v. 1, no. 1 (2 Aug. 1839)-v. 5, no. 602 (Oct. 7, 1843)

Issues printed by Bent were v. 1, no. 1 (2 Aug. 1839)-v. 2, no. 63 (6 Mar. 1840)

Published twice weekly, on Tuesday and Friday.

Continued by The Morning Chronicle.

Ferguson 2692.

Digital version available on Trove.

On 18 July 1839 the Sydney Gazette reported that ‘the Catholics’ had purchased Bent’s printing establishment for £400. Bent was kept on as printer, paid a salary (by his own account equivalent to £350 a year) and provided with accommodation in the printing office, still located at 67 Pitt Street.

The paper was edited by William Augustine Duncan, a Scottish born Catholic convert of moderate liberal views who had emigrated to NSW as a school teacher in 1837 and had connections with William Ullathorne. The shareholders were chiefly Irish emancipists who while wealthy were, according to Duncan, both illiterate and unprincipled. The newspaper was probably established, at least in part, to counteract attacks on Ullathorne in the Sydney press, and it appears to have received support from Bishop Polding.

Early in 1840 there occurred what Bent later described as a misunderstanding ‘alike unfortunate to the shareholders as to himself’ which ‘compelled him to leave the establishment’ (Appeal … 1844). It is not clear whether he resigned or was sacked, but he asserted he was blameless and he received some sort of compensation payment after commencing an action for breach of contract. In a long letter to Governor Gipps written from Kempsey in Aug. 1842 (SRNSW NRS905, 42/6933) Bent cast blame on the malignant behaviour of one of the shareholders (unnamed) but this meandering six-page account of the affair probably does not tell the whole story.

Duncan also came into conflict with the shareholders who sacked him in Feb. 1843.

The Australasian Chronicle was the last newspaper to be printed by Bent, although he at times obviously contemplated starting another paper.

On 14 June 1842 the Sydney Herald reported that a number of gentlemen intended ‘purchasing a press, and types, to start a newspaper, on a limited scale, at Moreton Bay and that ‘Mr. Bent, late of Van Diemen’s Land, has been solicited to become the printer and publisher.’ Nothing further seems to have come of these plans.

On 23 Dec. 1845 A. Bent (of Park Street, Sydney) registered himself as the proprietor of Police News, but there is no evidence it was ever published.

In 1847 Bent advertised he was going to commence a newspaper at Goulburn, to be called the Goulburn Herald, and County of Argyle Advertiser and solicited subscriptions. This plan foundered after he fell out with his business partner, William Jones, who went ahead and published the paper on his own. Bent was furious and printed a scurrilous pamphlet.