The Mercury (Hobart)

Last updated

The Mercury
TypeDaily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) News Corp Australia
EditorJenna Cairney
Founded1854;166 years ago (1854)
HeadquartersLevel 1, 2 Salamanca Square, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 7000
Circulation 44,317 (Weekdays)
61,020 (Saturday)
58,148 (Sunday)
ISSN 1039-9992

TheMercury is a daily newspaper, published in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, by Davies Brothers Pty Ltd, part of News Corp Australia and News Corp. The weekend issues of the paper are called Mercury on Saturday and Sunday Tasmanian. The current editor of TheMercury is Jenna Cairney.



The newspaper was started on 5 July 1854 by George Auber Jones and John Davies. Two months subsequently (13 September 1854) John Davies became the sole owner. [1] It was then published twice weekly and known as the Hobarton Mercury. It rapidly expanded, absorbing its rivals, and became a daily newspaper in 1858 under the lengthy title The Hobart Town Daily Mercury. In 1860 the masthead was reduced to The Mercury and in 2006 it was further shortened to simply Mercury.

With the imminent demise of the (Launceston) Daily Telegraph , The Mercury, from March 1928, used the opportunity to increase their penetration there by expanding the branch office in the northern city, and by putting on "fast cars" to get the paper to Launceston by breakfast. [2]

After Davies' retirement in 1871, the business was carried on by his sons John George Davies and Charles Ellis Davies who later traded as Davies Brothers Ltd. John Davies died on 11 June 1872, aged 58. The company remained in the family's hands until 1988, when it was taken over by News Limited (now News Corp Australia), a subsidiary of News Corporation. However, the subsidiary that owns the Tasmanian operation is still known as Davies Brothers Pty Limited.

Other Tasmanian titles published by the company are the weekly rural newspaper Tasmanian Country, the weekly regional newspaper The Gazette, and the monthly travel magazine Treasure Island.

The Saturday Evening Mercury, known locally as the 'SEM' was printed and circulated for readers on a Saturday evening from 1954 to 1984, it was replaced in early 1984 by the first Sunday circulations in southern Tasmania, known as the Sunday Tasmanian which still exists today.

At various stages in its history there have been limited experiments with regional papers—such as The Westerner which succeeded The West Coast Miner in 1979 to serve the West Coast until its demise in 1995—as well as suburban newspapers for the Hobart market, which appeared in various guises from 1966 until 1998. In November 2006 the company launched what it called a "newspaper in a newspaper" the Kingborough Times which appeared monthly within the Sunday Tasmanian. This was followed in June 2007 by the Northern Times with news from Hobart's northern suburbs. Both inserts have since ceased publication.


The following people were editors of The Mercury: [3]

OrderNameCommencement dateTerm endedTerm of officeReference
1William Coote185418572–3 years
2Samuel Prout Hill185718613–4 years
3Thomas Lockyer Bright185418570–1 years
4James Allen18651865 years
(3)Thomas Lockyer Bright186518682–3 years
5John Donnellan Balfe18681868 years
6James C. Patterson18681868 years
7James Simpson1868188314–15 years [4]
8 Henry Richard Nicholls 1883191228–29 years [5]
9William Henry Simmonds1912193118–19 years [6]
10Frederick Usher1931194311–12 years [7]
11Charles Ellis "C.E." Davies1944195411–12 years [8]
12Roy E. Shone1954197015–16 years
13Dennis Newton Hawker1970198211–12 years
14T. C. Malcolm Williams198219841–2 years
15James "Jim" Burns198419861–2 years
16Barry Dargaville198619881–2 years
17Ian McCausland1988200112–13 years
18Garry BaileyNovember 20015 January 201210 years, 65 days [9]
19Andrew HolmanJanuary 2012January 20141–2 years [9]
20Matt DeightonJanuary 201425 October 20173 years, 276 days [10]
21Chris Jones25 October 201713 January 20202 years, 317 days [11]
22Jenna Cairney13 January 2020Current237 days [12]

Press operations

In July 2007 News Corporation approved a new $31 million press centre for Davies Brothers Pty Ltd, publisher of the Mercury and the Sunday Tasmanian, including the installation of the latest colour press. [13]

Davies Brothers opened the new print centre at the Tasmanian Technopark in Dowsing Point, north of Hobart, in 2009. A new KBA Comet four-colour press replaced the 35-year-old Goss Urbanite press that had been housed in the Argyle Street wing of the company's city site. [14] Other operations of the newspaper group continued to be based in the heart of the city at 93 Macquarie Street.

The success of the new centre soon saw the introduction of local printing of interstate titles for local distribution. This includes the national daily The Australian and Melbourne's Herald Sun .


The former Mercury building at 91-93 Macquarie Street, Hobart Hobart Mercury building.JPG
The former Mercury building at 91-93 Macquarie Street, Hobart

In November 2011 Davies Brothers chief executive officer Rex Gardner announced that the company would move from its landmark Macquarie St headquarters in August 2012, leasing a new office at 2 Salamanca Square. [15] The move took place over the weekend of 28–29 July 2012, although months of work had taken place in advance.

The company has branch offices in Launceston and Burnie, as well as its print centre at Dowsing Point and its distribution centre at Western Junction near Launceston. Its branch office at New Norfolk closed in December 2010. [16] An office in William St, Queenstown closed in the early 1990s.

It was announced in May 2013 that the original site had been sold to an unidentified buyer [17] including the heritage-listed Ingle Hall, which was built in 1814 and housed the Mercury Print Museum. The Macquarie St and Argyle St frontages of the Mercury building were heritage listed in 2012 [18] Later in 2013, the purchasers were identified as Penny Clive and her husband Bruce Neill. Their intent was to transform it into restaurants, art galleries and a creative industries hub. [19] It is now used for a restaurant and the Detached Artist Archive, a private gallery. [20] [21]

Since early 2013, the Mercury's Salamanca Square office has hosted the Tasmanian bureaus of The Australian and Sky News. [22] The Mercury's Hobart offices have also hosted the Tasmanian bureau of Australian Associated Press over many decades. In 2018, the University of Tasmania opened its Tasmanian Media School, [23] co-located with the Mercury in its Salamanca Square office.

Circulation & Readership

As of March 2011, the Mercury reported its Monday–Friday circulation as 44,317 with an average readership of 107,000 and its Saturday circulation as 61,020 with readership of 146,000. [24] The Sunday Tasmanian reported circulation of 58,148 with readership of 129,000. [25]

In March 2020, readership modelling from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (emma™) reported the Mercury's average weekday readership had dropped to 71,000, the Saturday Mercury to 64,000 and the Sunday Tasmanian to 58,000. [26]

Print Audience (Average Issue Readership) [26]
MercurySaturday MercurySunday Tasmanian
YearMonthMonday - FridaySaturdaySunday
2020MayNot reportedNot reportedNot reported
2020AprilNot reportedNot reportedNot reported
2020FebruaryNot reportedNot reportedNot reported
2020JanuaryNot reportedNot reportedNot reported

The Tasmanian Mail

The Tasmanian Mail was a weekly newspaper published by The Mercury from June 1877 to June 1935. [27] It employed a separate staff from that which brought out the Mercury, and was intended to cover the whole of the state from Hobart to Launceston, and replaced the publication South and North, which had similar ideals. [28] From 7 April 1921 it was published as The Illustrated Tasmanian Mail

C. J. Fox was its editor from 1883 to June 1888 [29]

See also


  1. The Mercury 5 Nov 1995, page 4f, 'The Jubilee of The Mercury'
  2. "Newspaper Changes". The Mercury. CXXVIII (18, 845). Tasmania, Australia. 30 March 1928. p. 8. Retrieved 20 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  3. The Mercury's Editors
  4. "TASMANIA". The Morning Bulletin . Rockhampton, Qld. 18 October 1880. p. 3. Retrieved 11 December 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  5. Bate, Weston. "Nicholls, Henry Richard (1830–1912)". Australian Dictionary of Biography . Australian National University.
  6. "MR. W. K. SIMMONDS". The Morning Bulletin . Rockhampton, Qld. 21 September 1934. p. 11. Retrieved 11 December 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "PERSONAL". The West Australian . Perth. 8 December 1930. p. 8. Retrieved 11 December 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "Mr C. E. Davies Appointed Managing Editor Of "The Mercury"". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. 1 January 1944. p. 3. Retrieved 11 December 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  9. 1 2 Cairns editor for the Mercury, Mercury website.
  10. News appoints Matt Deighton as new Mercury editor, Mercury website. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  11. Chris Jones appointed as editor of the Mercury, Mercury website. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  12. New Mercury editor announced by News Corporation executive chairman Michael Miller, Mercury website. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  13. $31m press upgrade for Mercury, Mercury website, 25 July 2007.
  14. Tassie tough: News' Hobart site in detail, gxpress website, 1 September 2009.
  15. Mercury on the move, Mercury website, 17 November 2011.
  16. Gazette office closes but paper carries on, New Norfolk News website, 22 December 2010.
  17. Buyer inks deal on landmark, Mercury website, 16 May 2013.
  18. Heritage listing for Mercury building, ABC News website 2 December 2012. 3 December 2012.
  19. Abey, Duncan (19 September 2013). "A new creative hub breathes life into old Mercury building". Mercury. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  20. Neill, Rosemary (2 June 2019). "Australia's best kept cultural secret". The Australian . Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  21. "Are the Arts subverting Hobart?". Tourism stories. Brand Tasmania. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  24. Facts: Mercury Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine , NewsSpace, March 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  25. Facts: Sunday Tasmanian Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine , NewsSpace, March 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  26. 1 2 "Audience Reports". Enhanced Media Metrics Australia. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  27. "Sixty Years of Service". The Mercury (Hobart). Tasmania, Australia. 28 June 1935. p. 8. Retrieved 28 April 2020 via Trove.
  28. "The New Weekly Newspaper". The Mercury (Hobart). Tasmania, Australia. 13 June 1877. p. 2. Retrieved 28 April 2020 via Trove.
  29. "Shipping". Tasmanian News . Tasmania, Australia. 20 June 1888. p. 3. Retrieved 28 April 2020 via Trove.

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