Breamlea, Victoria

Breamlea, Victoria

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The tabloid press, 1871 style

 Francis B. Davidson's Sydney Morning Herald, dated Friday July 28, 1871.

The Sydney Morning Herald in 1871. 

I've been lucky enough to get my hands on two newspapers that were printed in 1871.  They are dated July 28 and 29, and these yellowed and slightly musty papers are treasures to me. I thought I'd tell you some of the wonderful olde worlde things that are printed in it.

For Friday, July 28, 1871, Francis B. Davidson has scrawled his name across the Sydney Morning Herald mast head in bold India ink.   Looks like Frank was sick of someone taking his newspaper and has laid claim to it.  It was his twopence that paid for it, after all.

The front page contains nearly a whole column devoted to "THE AUSTRALIAN OINTMENT", claiming it is the only ointment made in the colony that is worth being patented.  Miracles of medicinal healing occur upon the use of this stuff, healing "old wounds, chafings, sunburns, cracked lips and hands, sore heads, broken chilblains, soft corns, excoriations &c."

SORE EYES are cured instantaneously.
STIFFNESS OF JOINTS is got rid of by one application.
BUNIONS are soon removed.
INTERNAL PILES - only try it.

Bunions and piles are soon gone with this wonder ointment.
Horse breeders and dairy producers are exhorted to use it on their animals.  "In fact, no householder, squatter, mechanic, large establishment of any description should be without this AUSTRALIAN OINTMENT. as its virtues are so useful and varied that it requires a trial to be BELIEVED."

We have some idea of what this amazing cure-all looks like too.  "THE AUSTRALIAN OINTMENT IS OF A PURE GREEN COLOUR" - the natural extract of the "wild plants indigenous to the colony" and it is "guaranteed from all poisonous qualities." Lucky it's free of all poisonous qualities.

The ointment is not genuine unless its label is stamped with a star in blue ink. "This ointment is not a mere catchpenny to gull the public" either. 

Eight testimonials follow; letters from satisfied customers, including one from John Williams, from the Metropolitan Hotel, cnr. King and Castlereagh Streets, Sydney (now part of the Sydney CBD - look it up - some of the buildings are still there.) You can read it below.

The Metropolitan Hotel testimonial- I wonder if it cures hangovers?

After nearly a full page length column devoted to the wondrous AUSTRALIAN OINTMENT, there is a small space left at the bottom of the page, in which the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald has, in his wisdom, chosen to fill with
advertisements for "HENRY'S COLONIAL OINTMENT" and "STEEDMAN'S SOOTHING POWDERS".  I kid you not.
The editor of the Sydney Morning Herald
should be fired for this one.
Historically yours,
Valerius Copernicus

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