Illustrated Australian Mail | State Library of New South Wales

Illustrated Australian Mail

By the mid 19th century leading colonial newspapers were publishing weekly and fortnightly illustrated journals.

The first issue of The Illustrated Australian Mail, 22 Nov. 1861, was entirely devoted to recounting the saga of the Burke and Wills expedition.

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These picture papers supplied readers with a broader range of stories than the daily newspapers. They also included many illustrations produced by colonial artists like S. T. Gill and William Strutt.

In this issue of The Illustrated Australian Mail extracts from the journals of all the significant participants in the Burke and Wills expedition have been printed together, arranged chronologically alongside other narratives with snippets and commentaries supplemented by illustrations.

A hand written note on the cover of this newspaper cites it as 'priceless', 'probably a unique copy'. It provides a fascinating example of the way in which current events, like the story of the Burke and Wills expedition, were reported to the general public in the 19th century.