How Fremantle's first newspaper was hoaxed

by
October 2006, no. 285
'How Fremantle's first newspaper was hoaxed' by Bob Reece

How Fremantle's first newspaper was hoaxed

by
October 2006, no. 285

Fremantle’s first real newspaper, The Herald, saw the light of day in a building on the corner of Cliff and High Streets on Saturday, 2 February 1867. The brainchild of two ex-convicts, James Pearce and William Beresford, it soon became the main voice of opposition to colonial autocracy, as well as the voice of Fremantle itself. William de la Poer Beresford (to give him his full aristocratic name) was an eccentric Anglo-Irish cleric who had been transported for forgery in 1858, and was a ripe sixty-eight years old when The Herald began. James Pearce came from more humble origins. Convicted of felony at the Gloucester assizes, he was transported in 1851. Keen on literature and amateur dramatics, he was secretary of the Fremantle Literary Institute for four years. Together with Beresford, and another upper-class forger, James Elphinstone Roe, he produced the liveliest and best-written newspaper in the colony for the next twenty years. Nevertheless, The Herald had a rocky beginning when a reader pulled off an ingenious but obscene literary joke at its expense.

'How Fremantle's first newspaper was hoaxed' by Bob Reece

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