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This biography of David Syme, a powerful man of many parts, seeks to go behind the legend and round out the story of his life – primarily as press ‘baron’ but also as theorist and author, financier, farmer, property developer and, not least, family man. Elizabeth Morrison is a historian of nineteenth-century Australian print culture
From Victorias goldrush of the 1850s to Melbournes boom of the 1880s and bust-to-recovery of the 1890s, newspapers dominated the Australian publishing scene. Uniquely they provided local, intercolonial and international news, magazine content from the popular to the intellectual, and the latest literature, especially novels in serial instalments. By the 1870s the Melbourne Age dominated the journalistic stage. In the 1880s its circulation was far in excess of any other daily throughout all British colonial possessions and its proprietor, the driven, talented immigrant Scotsman David Syme, was acknowledged as the leader of the Australian press. For the influence that he and his newspapers exercised, he became a legend in his lifetime and for several generations after his death in 1908. Making use of family and business records and the massive nineteenth-century newspaper archive now becoming accessible through digitisation and searching via Trove, this biography of a powerful man of many parts seeks to go behind the legend and round out the story of his life primarily as press baron but also as theorist and author, financier, farmer, property developer and, not least, family man.
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