Citation: Craig Collins and Sally Bloomfield, Andrew Bent Timeline, https://andrew-bent.life/timeline-2/ (version 1, 31 August 2018)


1791, 24 Oct: baptised at St Giles-on-the-Fields, London.

about 1803-1810 (or part): apprenticed to John Crowder of the Public Ledger newspaper.

1810, 01 Nov: convicted with Phillip Street of theft and burglary and sentenced to death at The Old Bailey, London: R v Bent & Street.

1811, 07 Mar: death sentence commuted to transportation for life.

1811, 03 Sep: sailed by the Guildford from London to Sydney.

1812, 18 Jan: arrived at Sydney by the Guildford.

1812, 11 Feb: sailed by the Ruby from Sydney to Hobart Town.

Hobart Town

1812, 19 Feb: arrived at Hobart Town by the Ruby.

about 1812-1814: worked as assistant printer to George Clark, Government Printer.

1815, 15 Sep: published first imprint, An address to Lieutenant Governor Davey presented by the inhabitants of Van Diemen’s Land.

1815, Sep-Nov: appointed Government Printer, Hobart Town.

1816, 11 May: published the first number of the Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter (‘Vol 3, No. 158’): see Hobart Town, 1816 blog. 

1816, 01 Jun: published first ‘official’ number of the Hobart Town Gazette (Vol 1, No. 1).

1816, 07 Sep: conditional pardon published in the Hobart Town Gazette.

1816, 19 Sep: married Mary Kirk, convict from Dublin, Ireland.

1817, 16 Aug: first child (stillborn).

1818, 31 Jul: daughter Elizabeth Bent born (first living child).

1819, 15 Mar: published the first work of general literature in the Australian colonies: Michael Howe, the last and worst of the Bushrangers of Van Diemen’s Land; [see “Michael Howe” turns 200! blog; also Bloomfield, S, ‘Spruiking Van Diemen’s Land: The Long Reach of a Little Bush-Ranger book, Script & Print, v. 42, no. 1, 2018, pp. 26-47 (published Apr. 2019)]

1820, 11 Aug: daughter Catherine Bent born (second child).

1821, 07 Aug: granted absolute pardon by Governor Macquarie.

1822, 02 Jul: daughter Mary Bent born (third child).

1822, 18 Sep: brother Richard Bent (aka William Wood) assigned to Andrew Bent.

1823, 08 Nov: moved into new brick printing premises on the corner of Elizabeth and Melville Streets, Hobart Town: ‘sufficiently large and commodious enough to allow of almost any extent of business being carried on for perhaps a century to come.’

1824, 02 Feb: son Andrew Bent Jr born (fourth child).

1824, 14 May: George Arthur sworn as Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land.

1824, 04 Jun (at 1.40pm): Birth of the free press in the Australian colonies.

1824, 26 Aug: Sydney Gazette reported Governor Brisbane upholding Bent’s property rights in the Hobart Town Gazette, referring to him as ‘Little Struggler’.

1824, 08 Oct: by the ‘gideonite of tyranny’ editorial, the Hobart Town Gazette reported Governor Brisbane upholding Bent’s ownership of the Gazette, press and type.

1824, 14 Oct: first number of The Australian newspaper published by Robert Wardell and William Charles Wentworth as the first free and independent newspaper in Sydney.

1824, 21 Oct: official censorship removed from The Sydney Gazette published by Robert Howe – as first published by his father George Howe in 1803.

1825, 25 Jun: sacked as Government Printer by Arthur and replaced by James Ross and George Terry Howe, who commence a rival newspaper also titled Hobart Town Gazette..

1825, 01 & 26 Jul: R v Bent (No. 1): (VDL, Pedder CJ, military jury) tried for criminal libels from HTG 08 Oct 1824 ‘gideonite of tyranny’ editorial and HTG 11 Feb 1825.

1825, 01 Aug: R v Bent (No 2): (VDL, Pedder CJ, military jury) tried for criminal libels from HTG 18 Feb, 20 Feb, 11 Mar & 20 May 1825.

1825, 19 Aug: changed the title of his Hobart Town Gazette to the Colonial Times.

1825, 6 & 14 Dec: continuation of R v Bent (No. 1).

1826, 02 Jan: son Robert Bent born (fifth child).

1826, 29 Mar: continuation of R v Bent (No 2)

1826, 15 Apr: R v Bent: retrial of R v Bent (No. 1) from 01 & 26 Jul, 6 & 14 Dec 1825.

1827, 15 May: R v Bent: (VDL, Pedder CJ, military jury) tried for criminal libels from Colonial Times 2 Feb 1827.

1827, 21 Sep: Newspaper and Licensing Act, VDL (8 Geo IV, No. 3) (‘Bent’s Act‘), with effect from 15 Oct 1827; refused a license to print or publish any newspaper.

1828, 05 May: daughter Hannah Bent born (sixth child).

1828, 18 Jul: purchased ‘Bentfield’, a property of about 1000 acres at Cross Marsh, near Melton Mowbray, VDL

1828, 24 Dec: learned that Bent’s Act disallowed by the British authorities in London.

1830, 11 Jan: sold Colonial Times to Henry Melville.

1830, 12 & 13 Jan: Butler v Bent (first VDL trial by civil jury, Pedder CJ) sued for libels arising from ‘The Hermit in VDL’ satirical columns in Colonial Times 21 Aug, 2 Oct & 9 Oct 1829.

1830, 15 & 16 Jan: Kennedy v Bent: (VDL, Pedder CJ, civil jury) sued for article in Colonial Times: under-sheriff accused of partiality, corruption and moral guilt in enforcement.

1830, 06 Feb: continuation of Kennedy v Bent and R v Bent possible contempt of court for Colonial Times 29 Jan & 5 Feb reports of Kennedy v Bent.

1830, 10 May: continuation of Butler v Bent

1830, 13 May: Ross v Bent (later discontinued) sued for libels arising from ‘The Hermit in VDL’ satirical columns in Colonial Times.

1830, 01 Aug: son James Austin Bent born (seventh child).

1831, 31 May: sold ‘Bentfield’ to Joseph Hone.

1832, 02 Mar: son John Earle Bent born (eighth child).

1832, May: purchased new printing equipment and began printing The Colonist.

1832, 21 Sep: Melville v Bent: (VDL, Pedder CJ) after buying the Colonial Times, Melville sued unsuccessfully to stop Bent resuming his trade as a printer in competition.

1834, 02 Oct: son Richard Bent born (ninth child).

1836, 20 Oct: The humble Petition of Andrew Bent to the British House of Commons – petitioned for compensation for Arthur’s ‘illegal and oppressive’ conduct.

1836, 29 Oct: Arthur departed Hobart Town for England.

1837, 01 Jun: Joseph Hume MP presented Bent’s petition to the House of Commons.

1837, 15 Dec: son Edmund Bent born (tenth child).

1838, 14 Jun, 23 Jul, 23 Aug & 13 Sep: Murray v Bent; (VDL, Montagu J, jury) prosecuted for criminal libel for advertisement and editorial published in Bent’s News 14 Apr 1838.

1838, 13 Sep: Stephen v Bent (No. 1); (VDL, Pedder CJ, civil jury) sued for suggestion in Bent’s News that George Stephen was unfit to be Advocate-General of South Australia.

1838, 14 Sep: Stephen v Bent (No. 2) (VDL, Pedder CJ, civil jury) sued for Bent’s News article accusing former Attorney-General Alfred Stephen of ‘legal ingenuity’ etc.

1838, 07 Dec: Sir Thomas Bent was born in Penrith, New South Wales, son of James Bent [see ‘Tommy Bent‘ blog]

1839, 26 Feb: departed Hobart for Sydney on board the Gilmore.


1839, 02 Mar: arrived in Sydney from Hobart

1839, 11 Dec: son Francis Augustine Bent born (eleventh child)

1840, 23 Nov: In re Bent (NSW, Stephen J) discharged from prison for insolvency.

1840, 03 Dec: sailed by the Mary Ann from Sydney to Kempsey.

1843, 29 Jul: recorded as present in Sydney (from Kempsey).

1844, 07 Mar: published ‘An Appeal to the Sympathies and Benevolence of the Australasian Public: For Relief for Mr. Andrew Bent‘.

1846, 19 Dec: wife Mary Bent died in Sydney.

1850, 30 Sep: baptised at St Patrick’s Church, Sydney.

1851, 27 Aug: died at the Sydney Benevolent Asylum – admitted 24 Jun: see Last Days blog


2018, 10 Aug: inducted into The Australian Media Hall of Fame