In 1867, Robert Clark and Edward J.Bateman established The Courier under the name of Bateman Clark & Co. The first office was located on the south side of Sturt Street, east of Albert Street. The newspaper consisted of four broadsheet pages and was printed on a hand press, turning out approximately 300 copies an hour. In 1871 the office moved to 24 Sturt Street and in 1889 the Clark and Bateman partnership dissolved, with Clark becoming the sole proprietor. In 1922 the newspaper became a private company called the Ballarat Courier Proprietary and a year later bought out the opposition, The Star. The Courier changed format from broadsheet to tabloid in 1944.
The newspaper is most famous for its involvement in an infamous Communist scandal in the 1950s. Editor of the Courier Robert Williams was publicly accused of being a Russian spy. Although he was never brought to trial Williams stood down as editor, marking the end of the newspaper's darkest days.