Broadsides | State Library of New South Wales


From the late 1700s to the mid 1800s, newspapers were heavily taxed and only the wealthy could afford to buy a daily paper.  Broadsides were a cheap and effective way to spread news and information among the general population. They were extensively produced in the UK and to a lesser extent in the Australian colonies.

 > View examples of broadsides relating to convict transportation in the Library's collection

Convict broadsides

Broadsides (or broadsheets) are a type of single page poster or leaflet printed only on one side. They could be pinned or pasted to walls, posts and doors, folded and rolled and passed from hand to hand. Broadsides had a slightly vulgar reputation and catered to the lower classes – often capitalising on sensational news stories such as shipwrecks, trials and executions. They were also used to circulate popular songs, often of a bawdy nature, to commemorate momentous events, such as royal deaths, and to broadcast important government announcements. The example below gives information about prisoners to be tried at the Lincoln County Assizes.

A Calendar of the felon prisoners in His Majesty's Goal, the Castle of Lincoln, in and for the County of Lincoln, at the Assizes to be holden on Saturday the 2nd day of August, 1794 ... . [Lincoln, England : The Gaol], 1794 (Brooke, Printer)
Printed broadside  Drawer item 419