This is essentially the land of newspapers. The colonist is by nature an inquisitive animal, who likes to know what is going on around him. The young colonial has inherited this proclivity. Excepting the Bible, Shakespeare, and Macaulay’s ‘Essays,’ the only literature within the bushman’s reach are newspapers. The townsman deems them equally essential to his well-being. Nearly everybody can read, and nearly everybody has leisure to do so. Again, the proportion of the population who can afford to purchase and subscribe to newspapers is ten times as large as in England; hence the number of sheets issued is comparatively much greater. Every country township has its weekly or bi-weekly organ. In Victoria alone there are over 200 different sheets published. Nor is the quality inferior to the quantity. On the contrary, if there is one institution of which Australians have reason to be proud, it is their newspaper press.
R.E.N. Twopeny, Town Life in Australia (1883). Ringwood: Penguin [1973: 221]
(qtd at Australian Common Reader)