Ballarat Star

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Sixty-five years ago to-day "The Star” came into the journalists world, and has been published continuously from that time It is the senior surviving Ballarat district newspaper, and naturally the history of “The Star” is very much the history of Ballarat. When the first issue of “The Star” appeared—on 22nd September, 1855 Ballarat was not even a municipality— it was merely a settlement controlled —for want of a better term - by the Government officials of the day. It was not until, nearly three months later— December 17th, 1855—that Ballarat be came a municipality, as hitherto; it had been a mere settlement surrounded by road board districts, and it was. not until another 15 years had elapsed— September 9th, 1870—that it became a city. This is the jubilee month, an occasion shortly to be celebrated by the generosity of Mayor Hill. Before "The Star” was published as such there were other papers—the “Ballarat Times,” and ‘‘The Trumpeter,” which latter merged into “The Star.” It is a coincidence that the Editor of “The Star” received during the last few days a letter from Miss Ada Wheeler, daughter of the late Mr. D. D. Wheeler, a pioneer Ballarat journalist, informing him that she had sent to the Ballarat Public Library a sheaf of papers published in the early days of Ballarat, namely ‘‘The Trumpeter,” the “Times,” “The Star,” and the “Punch,” and that among the parcel was one paper announcing the ‘"death’’ of “The Trumpeter” and the “birth” of “The Star.” She added that “The Trumpeter” was the property of her father, who sold his interest to Mr. T. D. Wanliss, and others who co-operated, in bringing out “The Star.” "THE STAR” IN HISTORY. “The Star” came into being at a troubled period of Ballarat history. It was indeed a most eventful era. The Eureka Stockade was an event of but nine months back, and the effects and influences of that notable affair were on the eve of being felt. It fell to the lot of “The Star" to record a good deal of the aftermath of the Stockade, which also spelt political evolution, and in Wither’s ‘‘History of Ballarat” “The Star” is freely quoted in relation to the epoch-making events of the time. Thus was this journal la potent factor in moulding the foundation of the city on sound, stable lines, just as it has in the long course of sixty-five years, through storm and stress, excitement and depression, re corded the evolution of this centre into the greatest goldfield of modern times and its complete passing as such until there remain but a collection of mullock dumps to mark the scenes of former gold mining activities. In regard to the “golden” and “diamond” jubilees of many institutions that have recently been celebrated, the history of their foundation has boon taken from the old files of “The Star,” and the subject matter of the many souvenirs published was gleaned from its columns. ln 1855 the tragic episode of Eureka, as already stated, was a matter of recent history, the “rebels” or .... “patriots”— according to the point of view had only been acquitted six- months before. To Lalor, Vern, and Black, outlawed for a time, the Government ‘"clemency" had been extended but a short time back. The diggers on the field and the business men who were quietly and firmly establishing themselves on the nucleus of the future City, and Town, saw the vast-potential ties of Ballarat, and recognised in the nearer future the necessity for a liberal and independent mouthpiece of public opinion. The newly-won rights of the diggers had to be consolidate and directed into the proper channels. Society still in a state of primitiveness, agitation, and unrest, had to be organised, and business and commerce had to be encouraged .and directed to its legitimate ends. And so out of the un spoken claims for a free and independent organ of public thought there arose the modest four page paper, which was christened “The Ballarat Star,” which has recorded and assisted the rise and progress of this great city, and has fought its way steadily along through many difficulties; seen full many a contemporary live its short life and die; and maintained throughout the true liberalism as against the falser and so has passed by five years to the days of its “diamond’’’ jubilee. Withers draws from “The Star” of December 4th, 1856, his account of the demonstration at the Stockade on the previous day, at which 'tribute was paid to the diggers who fought on that day two years before. Other episodes “relating to the Stockade.” were also reproduced by the historian from “The Star” files,” to which file had full access. It was in “The Star" of 1856 that the history of the Eureka Stockade movement was chronicled, with letters from those who took part therein explaining their motives, and between those dates the whole history of politics, State and Federal, has been told. [1]

Also See

Samuel Irwin

Frederick Vern

Thomas Wanliss


  1. Ballarat Star, 22 September 1920.