Many Queensland newspapers to close or go digital only: the availability of newspapers and how State Library can assist

Some background

Back in 2016, News Corp acquired regional and local newspaper business APN News and Media. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald this included 12 daily newspaper, 60 community newspapers and dozens of news websites. Among the newspapers were some of the strongest regional titles in Queensland, covering areas like Rockhampton, Mackay, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast (see article).

Australian Associated Press (AAP) is Australia's national news agency, established in 1935 and co-owned by News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media. In March 2020, AAP announced its closure, saying it was unable to compete with free online content, with its service to close on 26 June 2020. (see article).

As has been the trend worldwide, the contraction of the printed newspaper throughout Australia has been coming for some time. Many people have moved to electronic options away from the printed medium, and there has also been a significant drop in advertising revenue through classifieds. This has led to a steady decline in print newspaper circulation (see article).

In Australia, Newscorp Stated that the “rapid decline in advertising revenue has forced News Corp to suspend 60 community titles in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia” (see article)

Find out more detail about the newspapers impacted by this change (see article). And read-on to find out how State Library of Queensland can assist you with your newspaper requests.

State Library’s role

State Library of Queensland has a significant collection of historical and contemporary Queensland newspapers, as there is a legal requirement that material published in Queensland be deposited with the Library.

State Library has made 101 Queensland newspaper titles freely available and searchable online, via the Trove Digitised Newspaper portal. Issues up to 1954 are available, although a small number of titles with more recent issues are also available. Other major libraries, archives and museums have similarly made their collections available on Trove, making it an irresistible, addictive resource for researchers.

Newspapers on microfilm The large collection of newspapers on microfilm makes even more newspaper titles available. These do not cut off at 1954 as they do on Trove, but rather continue through to the present. They can be searched onsite at leisure, and staff are available to assist with the use of equipment. When a relevant article is found it can be copied onto a USB, printed or emailed, to be used for personal research and study. A few subjects of interest are personal notices of births, deaths and marriages, photographs of individuals and families at sporting and social events, fashions, entertainment, advertisements, and historical occurrences and responses to them at the time.

Microfilm newspapers on open access level 3 of State Library of Queensland

Newspaper databases

Access to these newspaper databases is free with a State Library membership. These databases (and more) are easily accessible from the One Search ereources menu. ProQuest Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Newsstream This database provides access to leading Australian and New Zealand newspapers. Content is from Fairfax Australia and Fairfax New Zealand, News Limited, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and APP newswires, ANZ Newsstand. It provides the latest local, regional and national news extending back to the late 1990s, but it is a text only option for significant articles. PressReader This newspaper database covers regional Queensland newspapers as well as national and international newspapers and magazines. Content is current with back copies extending back a year. It presents the whole newspaper in its original form.

PressReader displaying some Queensland regional titles currently available

Print newspapers

Current editions of many Queensland, interstate, national and international newspapers are held in the Tim Fairfax Newspaper Reading Room on level 3 of the library. You can request past issues of some newspapers as well.

State Library of Queensland Fairfax newspaper reading room

Newspaper scrapbooks and clipping files

The collection includes newspaper scrapbooks donated to the State Library, dating back to a time when newspapers were a major source of information and entertainment. They record important historical articles, social events, specific personal interests and sometimes tap into newspapers now lost.

In addition, State Library has biographical, place name and subject newspaper files, accessible in John Oxley Library (Level 4). These can be a source of otherwise inaccessible information. Ask about our newspaper files when doing Queensland research.

Search for newspapers in State Library’s collection

Find what newspapers are available at State Library by checking One Search, our online catalogue. It is possible to find most historical and contemporary newspapers in one form or another, free and easily accessible.

Ask us

Do you want to access a newspaper article or a newspaper search about a particular topic? As part of our Ask us service, we can do up to an hour’s research for you free of change.

Stephanie Ryan

Research Librarian

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