The Courier-Mail

The Courier-Mail
The Courier-Mail masthead
Courier-Mail front page 2008-07-25.jpg
Front page of The Courier-Mail
25 July 2008
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner News Limited
Publisher Queensland Newspapers
Editor David Fagan
Founded 1933
Language English
Headquarters Australia Brisbane, Australia
41 Campbell St
Bowen Hills QLD 4006
Circulation 224,689 Monday–Friday
326,767 Saturday
Official website

The Courier-Mail is a daily newspaper published in Brisbane, Australia. Owned by News Limited, it is published daily from Monday to Saturday in tabloid format. Its editorial offices are located at Bowen Hills, in Brisbane's inner northern suburbs, and it is printed at Murarrie, in Brisbane's eastern suburbs. It is available for purchase throughout Queensland, most regions of Northern New South Wales and parts of the Northern Territory.



The history of The Courier-Mail is through four mastheads. The Moreton Bay Courier later became The Courier, then the Brisbane Courier and since 1933 The Courier-Mail.

The Moreton Bay Courier was established as a weekly paper in June 1846. It became a bi-weekly in January 1858, a tri-weekly in December 1859 and finally a daily newspaper under the editorship of Theophilus Parsons Pugh from 14 May 1861. The recognised founder and first editor was Arthur Sidney Lyon (1817–1861) who was assisted by its printer, the later mayor of Brisbane and member of Queensland Legislative Council, the hon James Swan (1811–1891). Lyon, also referred to as the "father of the Press" in the colony of Queensland, had previously served as a writer and journalist in Melbourne and he would move on to found and edit journals such as Moreton Bay Free Press, North Australian and Darling Downs Gazette.[1] He arrived in Brisbane from Sydney in early 1846 with a plan to establish a newspaper, possibly influenced by Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang, who had encouraged Lyon to emigrate to Australia. Lyon then persuaded James Swan, a printer who had previously worked on Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang's newspaper "The Colonialist in Sydney. The two men established themselves in a garret of a building on the corner of Queen Street, Brisbane and Albert Street, Brisbane (a building later known as the North Star Hotel).

The first issue of the Moreton Bay Courier, consisting of 4 pages, appeared on Saturday 20 June 1846 with Arthur Sidney Lyon as editor and James Swan as publisher. It was published weekly on Saturdays.

However, after about 18 months of working together, Lyon and Swan continually disagreed on many aspects of editorial policy, including transportation of convicts and squatting, and Lyon took over sole control in late 1847. However, Lyon ran into money problems, allowing James Swan to take sole control. Eventually James Swan sold the newspaper to Thomas Blacket Stephens in 1859.[2][3]

The Moreton Bay Courier was purchased by Thomas Blacket Stephens in May 1861, and he soon turned it into a daily newspaper, The Courier. In 1864 it became the Brisbane Courier. In June–July 1868, he floated the Brisbane Newspaper Company, and transferred the plant and copyright of the Brisbane Courier to it.[4] He was the managing director until he retired in November 1873, when the paper was auctioned.[5][6] The Journal was then from November 1873 to December 1880 managed by one of the new part owners, the Tasmanian born former public servant Gresley Lukin (1840–1916), in almost the entire period of which Lukin functioned as 'managing editor' whereas the actual writing and editing was in the hands of the Irishman, William Augustine O'Carroll (1831–1885) with various sub-editors or editors of the 'literay staff' meaning the Queenslander. Most prominat of these were William Henry Traill (1842–1902), the later NSW politician and editor of the famed Sydney journal 'The Bulletin', and the Danish born but English and French educated Carl Adolph Feilberg (1844–1887). Carl Feilberg followed William Henry Trail in the function of political commentator and the de-facto editor of the Queenslander from early January to about 1 January 1881, yet he would later succeed William O'Carroll taking position as the editor-in-chief of the Courier from September 1883 to his death in October 1887. Lukin's part-ownership and managing editorship proprietorship changed hands on 21 December 1880 to the former 'Postmaster General' in the first McIlwraith government, Charles Hardie Buzacott (1835–1918), who had previously served as a journalist on the staff and otherwise had a distinguished career as a Queensland newspaper editor and proprietor. John James Knight (1863–1927) was editor-in-chief of the Brisbane Courier 1906-16 and later managing director and later again chairman of all the company's publications.[7]

The first edition of The Courier-Mail was published on 28 August 1933 after Keith Murdoch's Herald and Weekly Times acquired and merged the Brisbane Courier and the Daily Mail (first published on 3 October 1903). HWT controlled the paper until 1987 when it was acquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Limited. Murdoch also acquired the outstanding shares of Queensland Newspapers Pty Ltd.

Political position

Unlike most newspapers owned by News Corporation, it does not sympathise with the conservative Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia. At the Queensland state elections in 2009, The Courier-Mail opposed Lawrence Springborg in his tilt to become Premier of Queensland over incumbent ALP leader Anna Bligh who, along with obtaining the publication's endorsement, went on to become the first popularly elected female Premier in Australia.The Courier-Mail generally supports free market economic policies and the process of globalisation. It supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq[citation needed].


The Courier-Mail has the fourth-highest circulation of any daily newspaper in Australia with 224,689 sales Monday to Friday, and 326,767 on Saturdays (June 2006 figures). Around three-quarters of the paper's readership is located in the Brisbane metropolitan area.[8]

Although often claimed to be Brisbane's only daily newspaper since the demise of Queensland Newspapers' own afternoon newspaper The Telegraph in 1988, it arguably has had two competitors since 2007. News Corporation itself has published mX, a free afternoon newspaper, since 2007, but mX has a relatively low news content. Fairfax Media has published the online Brisbane Times since 2007.


  • Jun 1846 – Dec 1847: Arthur Sidney Lyon (first editor)
  • Dec 1847 – c. 1850: James Swan
  • early to mid 1850s: William Wilks
  • 1860: Richard Belford (former editor of Ballarat Star and later editor of the North Australian)
  • 1860–1863: Theophilus Parsons Pugh (also the creator and publisher of Pugh's Almanac)
  • 1864–1866: David Frederick Tudor Jones
  • 1867–c. 1869: William O'Carroll (Queensland journalist)
  • 1869–1873: George Hall ("the Bohemian")
  • 1873–1875: Gresley Lukin (assisted by William O'Carroll)
  • 1875 – Dec 1880: William O'Carroll (as the de facto editor, officially edited by the managing editor Gresley Lukin)
  • Jan 1881- Sep 1883: William O'Carroll (as the de facto editor, although officially edited by the managing editor Charles Hardie Buzacott)
  • Sep 1883 – Oct 1887: Carl Adolph Feilberg
  • Oct 1887 – Dec 1887: Edmund John T Barton (later author of the Jubilee History of Queensland)
  • Jan 1888 – Jun 1891: William Kinnaird Rose
  • Jan 1894 – Nov 1898: Frederick William Ward
  • Dec 1898 – Apr 1903: Charles Brunsdon Fletcher
  • April 1903–1906: Edmund John T Barton (later author of the Jubilee History of Queensland)
  • 1906 – Jun 1916: John James Knight
  • Jun 1916 – Jun 1919: John MacGregor
  • Jun 1919 – 1932?: R. Sanderson Taylor
  • 1932 - Dec 1933: Firman McKinnon
  • Jan 1934 - Sep 1936: Reginald Tingey Foster (also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail, The Queenslander)
  • late 1936 - 1938: Charles E Sligo (news editor, acting editor)
  • Apr 1938 - late 1941: Jack C Waters (also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail, The Queenslander (to 1939))
  • 1942 - 1968: Theodor Charles Bray (later Sir Theodor) (after 1953 also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)
  • 1968 - 1969: Alan F Cummins
  • 1969 - 1979: John R Atherton
  • 1979 - 1984: Kevin J Kavanagh
  • Mar 1984 - Mar 1987: David C Smith (Feb 1986 - Mar 1987 also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)
  • Mar 1987 - Apr 1991: Greg Chamberlin
  • Apr 1991 - Apr 1995: Des Houghton
  • Apr 1995 - Jun 2002: Chris Mitchell (also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)
  • Jun 2002 - Mar 2010: David Fagan (Mar 2010 - Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)
  • Mar 2010 - - Michael Crutcher
  • Mar 1987 - Apr 1991: Ron Richards (managing editor)
  • Apr 1991 - Apr 1995: Jack Lunn (Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)


Prominent journalists and columnists include Terry Sweetman and Mike O'Connor. Its current Editor is Michael Crutcher. Editor-in-chief for Queensland Newspapers is David Fagan, who is married to columnist and 612 ABC Brisbane radio broadcaster Madonna King. Deputy editor is Steve Gibbons, former editor-in-chief of the Australian Provincial Newspapers group and a senior editor at The Age and Sunday Age in Melbourne. Its editorial cartoonist is Sean Leahy. For thirty years the paper's senior rugby league football journalist was former Australian vice-captain Jack Reardon.

Change to tabloid

Front page of The Courier-Mail, 12 December 2005, prior to its conversion to a tabloid format.

From its inception until recently The Courier-Mail was a broadsheet newspaper. On 14 December 2005 it was announced that the paper would change to a tabloid sometime in early 2006, however the term "tabloid" was not used in favour of the term "compact".[9] This linguistic choice was probably related to widespread public view that many tabloids, including those published by News Limited, were low quality publications (see tabloid for discussion of this size and quality issue). Much emphasis was made that it was merely the paper size that was changing and not the journalistic quality. The last broadsheet edition was published on Saturday 11 March 2006, and the first tabloid edition was published on Monday 13 March 2006. On the same day, the paper's website was revamped and expanded.

The change to a "compact" format brought The Courier-Mail in line with all other News Limited Australian metropolitan daily newspapers. This followed the change to a tabloid format by The Advertiser of Adelaide—another News Corporation newspaper—some years earlier. Despite the claims that there would be no loss of journalistic quality, The Courier-Mail in its "compact" format is not well regarded for its journalism, e.g. Crikey described it as "one of the contestants in a close run field for worst paper in Australia".[10] In August 2011, police and the parents of a murder victim criticized the paper for false accusing their son of a child sex crimes.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Brisbane Courier 26 Oct 1861, p2c (obituary for Lyon); Brisbane Courier 22 Aug 1887, p.6 & 22 June 1926 'The Story of the Courier'
  2. ^ Brisbane Courier, Tuesday 2 June 1891, page 5
  3. ^ Brisbane Courier, Saturday 20 June 1896, pages 7-8
  4. ^ T. B. Stephens (2 July 1868). "Notice". The Brisbane Courier. 
  5. ^ Stephens, Thomas Blacket (1819 - 1877), Australian Dictionary of Biography
  6. ^ Judith Womersley, Mark Richmond (2001). AussieData: From Prehistory to the Present. Wakefield Press. p. 160. ISBN 1862545456. 
  7. ^ H. J. Summers, 'Knight, John James (1863 - 1927)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, MUP, 1983, pp 622-623
  8. ^ "The Courier-Mail Demographics". Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  9. ^ Blog of Andrew Bartlett
  10. ^ Crikey Bias-o-meter: The Newspapers
  11. ^
  • Brisbane Courier 29 January 1895, p2. "The Queenslander: New Series".
  • Brisbane Courier 20 June 1896, p7a–8c. Jubilee Issue 1846 To 1896. "Half-a-Century of News Paper Work. A Chequered Career. Genesis of a Daily Paper. The Early Press of Queensland". by J. J. Knight.
  • Brisbane Courier 22 June 1926 "Eightieth Birthday Number"
  • Browne, Reginald Spencer: A Journalist’s Memories, Read Press, Brisbane 1927, 351 pages & index.
  • Cryle, Denis: The Press In Colonial Queensland: A Social and Political History 1845–1875, Brisbane 1995, 191 pages.
  • Davies, Alfred G.: "Queensland's Pioneer Journals and Journalists", Historical Society of Queensland Journal (RHSQ) vol 3, No 4, 1936–47, p265–283.
  • Ørsted-Jensen: Robert: The Right To Live - the Politics of Race and the Troubled Conscience of an Australian Journalist (yet unpublished manuscript)

External links

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