Victoria Times (NZ, 1841)

Victoria Times (NZ, 1841)

Publication History:

Place of Publication: Wellington, NZ

Frequency: Library reports only one issue, but 500 copies (lithographed)

Volume and Issue Data:  Extant copy says “No. 1, September 8, 1841” (NZ library site says “15 September 1841”)

Size and Format: Size (unknown), but handwritten text was lithographed

Editor/Publisher:  Thomas Bluett and Jacob Jones

Title Changes and Continuation:  None (possibly related the New Zealand Gazette)

General Description and Notes:

According to the National Library of New Zealand website, “The Victoria Times was only published once but is noteworthy for several reasons; it was Wellington’s second earliest paper, it was lithographed rather than letter-pressed and it contains a plan of Wellington on the back page. The plan was hand-coloured in some issues although not the one presented here.

The Victoria Times was published by Thomas Bluett and Jacob Jones. They had previously produced lithographs for the New Zealand Company, including a chart of Port Nicholson that’s now recognized as New Zealand’s first lithograph. Given that the Company had a strong interest in Wellington’s other newspaper, the New Zealand Gazette, the decision to publish a rival paper seems reckless. And is presumably one of the reasons why the paper failed to appear again. Another possible reason for the paper’s brief life was that the partnership of Bluett and Jones did not endure. Jones announced its dissolution in the Gazette in late 1841.

“Bluett moved to Tasmania. Records show him operating a lithographic firm in Hobart in 1842. Examples of his work are held in various archives in Australia. He died in England in 1846.”

According to the Library Tech NZ site, “Many of you will know that five hundred copies of the first issue of the Victoria Times were published in Wellington on 15 September 1841. These were lithographed, rather than letter-pressed like most newspapers.

“The first three pages are handwritten text, and the last is a fascinating plan of Wellington in 1841. Note that Lambton Quay is actually a quay (i.e. constructed along the edge of a body of water) and that Basin Reserve is a “proposed basin” linked to the water by a “proposed canal”. In some issues (but not ours) the map was hand-coloured. This was not an economical way to run a newspaper, apparently, as the first issue was also the last.”

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  None

Locations: National Library of New Zealand (see Papers Past: Victoria Times)

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