Colonial Times

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Colonial Times 1825

Colonial Times, and Tasmanian Advertiser (Late Hobart Town Gazette). Printed by A. Bent at the Office in Elizabeth-st.

v. 10, no. 485 (19 Aug. 1825)-v. 12, no. 608 (28 Dec. 1827)

Weekly (Fridays). Continues the numbering of the Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser.

Ferguson 1004a.

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Mary Bent

On 29 Mar. 1826 Bent was imprisoned for 6 months for libels against the government published in the HTG. During his incarceration his wife Mary kept the printing business and newspaper going, with the assistance of the editor R. L. Murray. From 14 Apr. 1826-26 May 1826 Mary’s name appeared in the imprint.

Murray ceased his involvement with the paper on 11 Aug. 1826 after some rather dubious charges of forgery were preferred against him. He was found guilty on one of them and remained in gaol  while the authorities dithered over whether the case should be referred to England. He was released in May 1827.

After Murray’s withdrawal Bent was assisted briefly by recently arrived convict Abraham Charles Mummery. Francis E. D. Browne, a convict clerk in the Survey Office, also gave Bent editorial assistance, but it is not clear exactly when this began.

Col Times 1827 Mitchell (1)
Colonial Times 19 Oct 1827 (State Library of NSW TN93. Volume for 1827 formerly belonging to T. Scott, Esq)

On 15 Oct. 1827 an act which prohibited any newspaper being published without a licence, and which became known as ‘Bent’s Act,’ came into force. A second act imposed stamp duty on newspapers. The Colonial Times of 19 Oct. 1827 was published ‘in mourning’ as a protest. On 20 Oct. Bent applied for a licence. Arthur, with the support of his Executive Council, refused. A protracted but ultimately unsuccessful correspondence ensued. An address to Arthur from 24 prominent citizens was also unavailing. During this time the newspaper was issued gratis as a single sheet of advertisements.

At the beginning of 1828 Bent shortened the title and changed the masthead.

Colonial Times 1828

Colonial Times. Tasmania. Printed and published by the original proprietor, Andrew Bent, at the Office, Elizabeth street, Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land.

v. 13, no. 609 (4 Jan. 1828)-

Weekly (Fridays).

To 26 Dec. 1828 issued as a gratis advertising sheet.

Ferguson 1004a.

view digital version on Trove.

In late Sept. 1828 Bent faced a bill in equity for printing the Colonial Times without a licence, and was imprisoned for a month for contempt of court for failing to answer in time. The newspaper act had already been disallowed in England. This was proclaimed in Hobart on 24 Dec. 1828 and the newspaper resumed with is usual 4 pages with the issue for 2 Jan. 1829, now printed on stamped paper.

On 11 Dec. 1829 Bent advertised the paper and printing equipment for sale by auction. In 1830 it was purchased by Henry Melville who continued the same title and numbering. Last issue to be printed by Bent: v. 15, no. 721 (26 Feb. 1830)

The paper continued with the same title under various ownership until 22 Aug 1857, when it was absorbed into the Hobarton Mercury.

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