A recent post about the publication of the first Australian newspaper attracted a lot of comments and communication. Many were interested in the newspaper itself, but even more were interested in George Howe, the man responsible for the printing of the "Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser".
It seems there are quite a number of my readers who are descended from, or connected to, George Howe. I have been sent quite a lot of information on him and have also researched more about this quite interesting man. Who would have thought a former convict would have attracted so much attention.
TROVE had quite a bit more re him, as in this article from
When George Howe died, this letter to the Editor appeared in the
Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), Monday 23 May 1932, page 12 ... written by W. A. THOMAS of Fullerton..
It gives a short summary of his life..
I felt that there was so much more to George Howe, and two of my readers, Ruth Miller and Janeen Beck, have kindly contributed some of their information, to which I have added my own research. Both ladies are connected to George. I thank them for their contributions and quote a few of their items in this post.
From Ruth Miller....
From Ruth Miller....
"My 3g grandfather George Williams, an actual free settler in 1814, worked for George Howe as a compositor on the Sydney Gazette, and then Cryer for the Supreme Court. He was very involved with the Bent family, lawyers Ellis and Jeffrey Bent, and seems to have fallen into disfavour with Governor Macquarie for his involvement in signing a petition (the Vale-Bent petition, signed “PhiloFree”) objecting to Macquarie’s punishment of free settlers without a trial, drawn up by William Moore an arrival on the same ship as George, and one of the first non-convict lawyers. He had also refused to publish an advertisement about a reward for information on the signatories. His participation in these political acts led to his land grant being initially refused. Macquarie had him sacked from the Sydney Gazette and he obtained the job of Cryer for the Supreme court through the connections he had made with lawyers and barristers he had met on the Broxbornebury voyage to New South Wales."
Firstly, a few links to follow...
Cape Banks Family History Society
This site has a lot of information on his family and various relationships.. always check yourself.
Early Australian Adventures
Old George Street
Some Notable Australian Journalists
State Library NSW
State Library NSW
George Howe (1769 - 1821) was a son of a Government Printer, who was born in St Kitts, West Indies. Howe went to England in 1790 and worked as a printer for The Times as well as other papers. In 1799 Howe was convicted at the Warwick assizes for shoplifting and sentenced to life and transportation. On arrival in New South Wales in 1800 he was quickly appointed as Government Printer and published the paper, then known as The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser that had started in 1803.
Source : Extract from draft of the Williams family book by Annie and Wal Lotocki
Wikipedia tells us that ...George Howe..
was the son of Thomas Howe, a government printer on Basseterre, Saint Christopher Island (now better known as Saint Kitts) in the West Indies. When he was 21, he went to London and worked as a printer for The Times. In March 1799, he was charged with shoplifting and sentenced to death, but this was commuted to transportation for life to New South Wales. Howe arrived at Sydney on 22 November 1800.
Editor of the Sydney Gazette
A small printing press had been brought to Australia by Governor Arthur Phillip, and a convict named George Hughes used it to print a considerable number of orders, rules and regulations. Soon after he arrived George Howe became the government printer, and in 1802 printed New South Wales General Standing Orders consisting of 146 pages, the first book to be printed in Australia. In May 1803 Governor King, in a dispatch to Lord Hobart, mentioned the establishment of the Sydney Gazette as a weekly publication—its first number had appeared on 5 March and asked that a new font of type should be sent to Sydney. The paper was carried on at the risk of Howe, who, though he had been fully emancipated in 1806, did not receive a salary as government printer until 1811 when he was granted only £60 a year. In the meantime Howe conducted the Gazette under difficulties, often running out of paper and suffering much from patrons who fell behind in their subscriptions. In 1810 a lighting strike almost destroyed Howes's printing office. Howe tried various expedients to keep his household going, at one time keeping a school and at another becoming a professional debt collector. Another of these expedients was becoming a professional mobile food stand for the public, he did this for 3 years.
In addition to the Gazette Howe began the publication of the New South Wales Pocket Almanac in 1806, which became a regular yearly publication from 1808 to 1821. He also began trading in sandalwood, and in 1813 found himself liable for over £90 of duty on two consignments. He appears to have become more prosperous, as in 1817 he was one of the original subscribers when the Bank of New South Wales was founded. Howe died on 11 May 1821 and left an estate of £400. He was married twice, and his second wife survived him with children of both marriages. He seems to have been a man of indomitable spirit and, considering his difficulties, was a good printer and editor. The memorial placed in the printing office by his son stated that "his charity knew no bounds".
You can read about his son, Robert, who followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather re printing...here
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a b c d e f J. V. Byrnes, 'Howe, George (1769–1821)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, MUP, 1966, pp 557–559. Retrieved 8 August 2009
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a b Serle, Percival (1949). "Howe, George". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
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^ Goff, Victoria (1998). "Convicts and Clerics: Their Roles in the Infancy of the Press in Sydney, 1803–1840". Media History. 4: 105. doi:10.1080/13688809809357939. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
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^ More Pig Bites Baby! Stories from Australia's First Newspaper, ed. Michael Connor, Duffy and Snellgrove, 2004, ISGN 1-876631-91-0, introduction page X
From Janeen Beck...
"George married Sarah, the widow of Edward Wills, One of her five existing children, Horatio Spencer Wills, became editor of the Gazette and published the first paper edited by a native-born Australian, The Currency Lad, which first appeared in August 1832... "
George was asscoiated with many of the colony's well known names, including Governors Bligh and Macquarie.
More from the draft of the Williams family book by Annie and Wal Lotocki:
“In 1810 Governor Macquarie re-opened the Colony’s newspaper The Sydney Gazette, which was shut down by Governor Bligh in 1808. The newspaper was a heavily censored government paper and the editor’s title was Government Printer."
To get an idea of the times, I've included a further extract from the Williams family book...
“In 1810 Governor Macquarie re-opened the Colony’s newspaper The Sydney Gazette, which was shut down by Governor Bligh in 1808. The newspaper was a heavily censored government paper and the editor’s title was Government Printer. This paper was run by George Howe (1769-1821) son of a Government Printer, who was born in St Kitts, West Indies. Howe went to England in 1790 and worked as a printer for The Times as well as other papers. In 1799 Howe was convicted at the Warwick assizes for shoplifting and sentenced to life and transportation. On arrival in New South Wales in 1800 he was quickly appointed as Government Printer and published the paper, then known as The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser that had started in 1803.
“George Williams, his wife Mary and son Vincent arrived in Australia on the Broxbornebury in 1814. Later he [Williams] reports he came with three sons. On the ship he befriended a solicitor Jeffrey Hart Bent (1781-1852), Ellis’ older brother, who was born in Surrey England, and educated at Cambridge University. Jeffrey Bent was an arrogant man with great pomposity, who refused to leave the ship until he received a formal salute. He was appointed as Judge of the first Supreme Court in New South Wales. He did not serve on the bench until a new Courthouse was constructed and he required the services of two attorneys to assist him. He appointed George Williams as a Supreme Court Crier. Jeffrey Bent was committed to the exclusion of convict solicitors from attending the Courts and in one instance closed the court so that the convicts could not defeat him.
“After his arrival in the Colony in 1814, Howe as the compositor for the newspaper hired George privately. Also on the same ship as George was a solicitor named William Moore, being one of the first non-convict lawyers, who also had the same idea as Jeffrey Bent, in that emancipist solicitors within the role of the Colony’s legal system should be restricted. When Jeffrey Bent was given all the Colony’s civil action cases this further soured the relationship between Ellis Bent and Macquarie, and Macquarie terminated Ellis’ commission as Judge Advocate, but before Ellis received the formal letter from Britain, Ellis died (10 November 1815).
“In 1816 Governor Macquarie was concerned about people trespassing at night on the Common and he ordered two constables to bring in anyone who ventured thereon. Three people were caught that night, a convict, and two free settlers. Macquarie decided to set an example of them and ordered them to 25 lashes each. Wentworth (1790-1882) as Administrator and Judge for the Colony of New South Wales was upset that Macquarie was overriding the State’s jurisdiction, however since they were friends allowed the lashings to be enforced. Jeffrey Bent, like his brother was also passionate about segregating emancipist lawyers from the “British” lawyers and opposed the flogging of free settlers. William Moore took up a petition to send a memorial to England in relation to the punishment of free settlers without a trial (“Vale-Bent petition”) signed “PhiloFree”. George Williams was thought to have signed the petition. George was said to have refused to place an advertisement in the paper for “information wanted, reward etc.” on the signatories. Campbell was reported as the architect of a letter that was compiled by George for the Sydney Gazette. When Macquarie heard of this, and the implication that Campbell was involved he was angry and accused Moore of forging the signatures of the petitioners. Macquarie took his vengeance on those he could under his control and George as one of the purported signatories, was dismissed from his position at the Sydney Gazette. Likewise, Wentworth then also withheld several land grants from others who had signed the petition. "
From the State Library NSW Archive... first gazette...use your Zoom to read... they aren't very clear..
The first edition was printed on a wooden press. The page below was from a later edition..