Australian Indigenous newspapers have provided a mechanism through which to map changes to government policy, societal attitudes and the range of issues affecting Indigenous people. They have also left an indelible record of Indigenous voices and perspectives. More than 36 Indigenous newspapers have been published since 1836. Some have been produced by Aboriginal organisations, while others have been individual initiatives. Many of the writers and producers of Indigenous newspapers are or have been well-known political campaigners for Indigenous rights. The first Aboriginal newspaper, and an early example of Aboriginal writing, is the Aboriginal or Flinders Island Chronicle. The first edition of the Chronicle, dated 10 September 1836, was written at Wybalenna Aboriginal settlement, Flinders Island, Tasmania. The last known edition was dated January 1838. Aboriginal writers Thomas Brune and Walter George Arthur wrote the Chronicle under the direction and editorship of the Protector of Aborigines, George Augustus Robinson. The aim of the journal is set out in its first sentences: ‘the object of this journal is to promote Christianity civilisation and learning to the Aborigines, inhabitants at Flinders Island’. However, its content also serves as a poignant portrayal of daily life on the Flinders Island settlement.
A Companion to the Australian Media