The Sunday Times (Western Australia)

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The Sunday Times
Type Sunday newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Seven West Media
Founder(s) Frederick Vosper and Edward Ellis
EditorMichael Beach
FoundedDecember 19, 1897;123 years ago (1897-12-19)
Headquarters50 Hasler Road,
Osborne Park, Western Australia
City Perth, WA
Country Australia
Circulation 184,486(as of June 2016) [1]
Sister newspapers The West Australian
ISSN 1442-9527
OCLC number 427972890

The Sunday Times, owned by Seven West Media, is a tabloid Sunday newspaper printed in Perth and distributed throughout Western Australia. Founded as The West Australian Sunday Times, it was renamed The Sunday Times from 30 March 1902. [2]


Owned since 1955 by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Australia and corporate predecessors, the newspaper and its website PerthNow, were sold to Seven West Media in 2016. [3] [4]


Established by Frederick Vosper and Edward Ellis in 1897, [5] [6] The Sunday Times became a vehicle for Vosper's harassment of C. Y. O'Connor and the Fremantle Harbour works, [7] the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, [8] and Perth's deep sewerage project, [9] from 1898 until O'Connor's death by suicide in 1902. A subsequent government inquiry found no justification for Vosper's campaign against O'Connor.

The paper was purchased from Vosper's estate by James MacCallum Smith and Arthur Reid in 1901. In 1912 MacCallum Smith became sole proprietor and managing director, remaining in that role until 1935, as well as being a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for 20 years. A. T. Chandler succeeded J. E. Webb as editor around 1920, and was an effective promoter of MacCallum Smith's secessionist views.

In 1935, a syndicate led by Jack Simons and including Victor Courtney and mining entrepreneur Claude de Bernales purchased Western Press Limited, the publisher of the paper, for £55,000. Simons was chairman and managing director until his death in 1949 when Courtney took control. [10] In 1955 Courtney sold Western Press to Rupert Murdoch's News Limited.

The 2016 sale to Kerry Stokes's Seven West Media was not opposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and included certain co-operative arrangements, including sharing of news content between SWM and News Corp, which will also handle Sunday Times and PerthNow advertising sales in Australia's eastern states. The two companies were already partners in Western Australia's Community Newspaper Group. [4] Under the sale agreement, printing and distribution of those 17 local papers and W.A. circulation of The Australian will be done by SWN's West Australian Newspapers.

Format and circulation

To counter decreasing demand for newspapers and competition from radio, television and internet news, The Sunday Times has made adaptations in style and presentation but remains a populist tabloid rather than a newspaper of record. Its statewide circulation and extensive advertising content make it probably the most profitable newspaper in Australia.

The paper's stated audited circulation was 282,585 in 2011, 257,330 in March 2013, and 184,012 in March 2016. [1]

In June 2006, The Sunday Times launched PerthNow, an online presentation of local news from News Limited. [11] As of March 2016, third-party web analytics provider Alexa, ranked as the 233rd most visited website in Australia, [12] while SimilarWeb rated the site as the 32nd most visited news website in Australia. [13]


Recent editors have been Don Smith from 1987, Brian Crisp from 1999, Brett McCarthy from 2001, Sam Weir from June 2007, Christopher Dore from April 2012 and Rod Savage from June 2013. [14] [15] In November 2016, The position devolved to Michael Beach, a Walkley-Award-winning journalist and SWM senior editor. [4]

Competition-free status

Western Australia's diminutive population has not enjoyed a competitive Sunday newspaper since The Independent was bought out by News Limited in 1984 and wound up in May 1986.

Before 1990, Perth had competitive Saturday newspapers (Weekend News and Western Mail (1980–1988)), as well as weekday morning and afternoon dailies ( The West Australian and Daily News respectively). A small-circulation state edition of Murdoch's national daily The Australian is printed at The Sunday Times, targeting an elite readership group in a way which does not seriously impinge on the more demotic audience of The West Australian.

A joint venture between the two companies produces many suburban papers under the Community Newspapers banner. Independents that are not produced by the Sunday Times-West Australian include Echo Newspapers, Examiner Newspapers, Herald Newspapers (with Perth Voice), and Post Newspapers. [16]

2008 leak controversy

On 30 April 2008, members of the police fraud squad conducted a raid on the offices of The Sunday Times—an unusual event for Australian mainstream media—following a state government complaint that confidential cabinet information had been leaked to the paper. [17] [18] An upper-house select committee inquiry [19] subsequently found that no direction had been given to police by any minister, parliamentarian or staffer; and that "the police over-reacted in what should have been a routine search". [20] The committee's findings included criticism of the Western Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Corruption and Crime Commission. It also recommended "that the Attorney General continue to pursue the introduction of shield laws for journalists". [21]

See also

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  1. 1 2 "Brands - Sunday Times and PerthNow".
  2. "The Sunday Times". The Sunday Times. Perth, WA. 30 March 1902. p. 1. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  3. "Sunday Times sale to The West Australian owner Seven West Media receives ACCC approval". ABC News . Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 16 September 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  4. 1 2 3 SWM finalises purchase of The Sunday Times". The West Australian , 8 November 2016, page 3
  5. Ellis, Edward (19 December 1897). "Editorial". Sunday Times - A Journal for the People. Perth, WA. p. 1. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  6. Byers, Karen (1993). "A paper for the people? : The Sunday Times 1897-1905". Research Online. Joondalup, WA: Edith Cowan University. p. 11. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  7. "From Day to Day". West Australian Sunday Times. Perth, WA. 17 April 1898. p. 2. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  8. "From Day to Day". West Australian Sunday Times. Perth, WA. 26 June 1898. p. 3. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  9. "Deep Drainage for Perth". West Australian Sunday Times. Perth, WA. 17 December 1899. p. 4. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  10. G. C. Bolton. "Courtney, Victor Desmond (1894–1970)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  11. PerthNow website
  12. " Site Overview". Alexa. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  13. " Analytics". SimilarWeb. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  14. The Australian (subscription required)
  15. Editorial contacts at Sunday Times
  16. Perth Suburban Newspapers Official combined website
  17. ABC News WA Police raid Sunday Times newspaper office 30 April 2008
  18. AAP report MPs to investigate raid on WA newspaper Sydney Morning Herald, 8 May 2008
  19. WA Legislative Council Select Committee into the Police Raid on the Sunday Times 7 August 2008
  20. ABC News Raid on The Sunday Times an 'over-reaction' 9 April 2009
  21. Report of Select Committee into the Police Raid on The Sunday Times 9 April 2009, at Parliament of Western Australia. Accessed 29 November 2013

Further reading