The People's Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator

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The People's Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator was a Sydney newspaper published between 1848 and 1856.

The People's Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator was a newspaper that advocated on issues of importance for the working classes of New South Wales. It played a prominent part of the political scene during the late 1840s and 1850s in Sydney. It supported radical candidates like Robert Lowe and John Dunmore Lang acting as a foil to the squatting and mercantile focus of The Sydney Morning Herald. Terry Irving in his book, The Southern Tree of Liberty called The People's Advocate "the most famous radical paper of the period".[1]

The People's Advocate was established by Edward John Hawksley,[2] an English Catholic Radical, who wrote the majority of the paper's content, and by the Sydney printer Francis Cunninghame[3]. The partnership dissolved in January 1852 but Cunninghame continued to publish the paper from his printery in King Street.[4]

Hawksley was a Unitarian who converted to Catholicism, and fought with the British Legion in the Spanish Carlist Wars. After his arrival in Sydney he was employed as a teacher, became warden of the Sydney Holy Catholic Guild (1848), and wrote religious pamphlets. He edited and published the Sydney Chronicle (1846-1847), the Daily News with Charles St Julian before working with Francis Cunninghame on the People's Advocate. From 1863-1870 Hawkesley was employed at the Government Printing Office before retiring to Fiji where he died in 1875.[4][5] Hawksley's daughter, Eliza, married the widowed Charles St Julian and settled in Fiji too.

Francis Cunninghame was an Irish printer who emigrated to the colony with his wife, Ellen, and daughter arriving on the Arkwright on 8 February 1840. His first work was to print the Sydney Morning Herald. Not long after arriving in Sydney the family settled into rented accommodation in The Rocks at 60 Susannah Place, where their next child, another daughter Ellen, was born in 1844. The family’s home has been preserved and now forms part of The Museum of The Rocks, with the living and bedroom of the dwelling decorated in the style typical of the 1840s.[6]

Before starting The People's Advocate Francis Cunninghame acted as the shipping reporter at The Australasian Chronicle between 1842 and 1848. From 1846 to 1847 Cunninghame worked with William Vernon and William Kennedy to publish another radical paper The Citizen.[7] With the start of the NSW gold rush Cunninghame left for the Turong Goldfields. In 1851, in both August and September the Advocate published letters from him on life in the goldfields. After the partnership with Hawksley ended, Cunninghame continued as printer, taking over the premises of Thomas Trood at 113 King Street Sydney. In 1869 the business became known as Francis Cunnninghame & Co when Ludolf Theodore Mellin joined the firm.[8] Mellin had previously established The Illustrated Sydney News in 1853 with Walter George Mason (1820–1866) and William Edward Vernon. Later in 1855, Ludolf Mellin partnered with William Vernon to establish The Goulburn Chronicle and Southern Advertiser.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Southern Tree of Liberty, The Democratic Movement in New South Wales before 1856, The Federation Press, Sydney, 2006, P 57.
  2. ^ Obituaries Australia. "Obituary - Edward Hawksley". Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  3. ^ Obituaries Australia. "Obituary - Francis Cunninghame". Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^ Susannah Place Museum
  7. ^ Austlit. "The Citizen". Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  8. ^ A guide to dating music published in Sydney and Melbourne, 1800-1899.
  9. ^