The West Australian

Last updated

The West Australian
The West Australian.svg
TypeDaily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Seven West Media
Editor Anthony De Ceglie
Founded5 January 1833
Political alignment Centre-right [1]
Headquarters50 Hasler Road,
Osborne Park, Western Australia
ISSN 0312-6323

The West Australian, widely known as The West, is the only locally edited daily newspaper published in Perth, Western Australia, and is owned by Seven West Media (SWM), [2] as is the state's other major newspaper, The Sunday Times . The West is the second-oldest continuously produced newspaper in Australia, having been published since 1833. The West tends to have conservative leanings, and has mostly supported the Liberal–National Party Coalition. It has Australia's largest share of market penetration (84% of WA) of any newspaper in the country.



The newspaper publishes international, national and local news. As of 23 February 2015, newsgathering was integrated with the TV news and current-affairs operations of Seven News , Perth, which moved its news staff to the paper's Osborne Park premises. SWM also publish two websites from Osborne Park including and PerthNow. Opinion columnists now include Jenna Clarke, Lanai Scarr, Paul Murray, Sarah-Jane Tasker, and Andrew Bolt. The daily newspaper includes lift-outs including Play Magazine, The Guide, West Weekend, and Body and Soul. is the online version of the daily newspaper available to subscribers.

Political leanings

The West tends to have conservative leanings, and has usually supported the Liberal–National Party Coalition throughout the political group's existence. [3] [ failed verification ] At the state election held in March 2017, the newspaper's editorial endorsed the Australian Labor Party opposition, led by Mark McGowan, over the Coalition government led by Colin Barnett.The West endorsed the Coalition at the 2019 Australian federal election, [4] and Labor in the 2021 state election. [5]


As of June 2020, SWM’s print mastheads reach 791,000 readers each week (net) and with a loyal, regular reader base are read 2.8 million times (gross readership). The West Australian Monday-Friday edition has the highest state reach of any metro weekday masthead in the nation, with 21.5% of West Australians reading an average issue . SWM also has the leading WA online news sites with and PerthNow, which has over 3 million Unique Audience. Across an average month 3.7 million people read Seven West Media WA’s print/digital news-mastheads* (+ 170,000 readers year on year) including 84% of West Australians - the highest state market reach of any cross platform masthead in the country.

The West Australian Mon-Sat (net), The Sunday Times,, PerthNow Sources: emma CMV, People 14+ for the 12 months to 31 March 2020. Nielsen Digital Panel (calibrated to DCR), March 2020. All 14+ only.

Corporate ownership

The West used this Fokker 27 in the mid-1990s to deliver its newspapers on a nightly flight to the north of Western Australia. The West Australian Fokker F-27 600 Friendship PER Wheatley.jpg
The West used this Fokker 27 in the mid-1990s to deliver its newspapers on a nightly flight to the north of Western Australia.

The West Australian was owned by the publicly listed company West Australian Newspapers Ltd from the 1920s. In 1969, the Melbourne-based The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd bought WAN and published the paper until 1987 when it was sold to Robert Holmes à Court's Bell Group in 1987 when the remainder of H&WT was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. [6] The following year Alan Bond, through Bond Corporation, gained control of Bell Group and hence the paper. This ownership structure only survived for a few years until the collapse of Bond Corporation. A newly formed company, West Australian Newspapers Holdings, then purchased the paper from the receivers before being floated in an oversubscribed $185 million public offering. [7] Chairman Trevor Eastwood announced in the annual report that the company was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX :  SWM) on 9 January 1992. A management fee of $217,000 and underwriting/brokers handling fee of $1,981,136 were paid to companies associated with former short-term directors John Poynton and J. H. Nickson. [8] After having acquired Seven Media Group in February 2011, West Australian Newspapers Holdings Limited became Seven West Media, Australia's largest diversified media business. [9]


Masthead from the Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, published Saturday 1 June 1833. PerthGazette 1833 06 01 1 masthead.jpg
Masthead from the Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, published Saturday 1 June 1833.

The West Australian traces its origins to The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, the first edition of which appeared on 5 January 1833. Owned and edited by Perth postmaster Charles Macfaull, it was originally a four-page weekly. [10] It was, at first, published on Saturdays, but changed to Fridays in 1864. From 7 October 1864 it was known as The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Times and was published by Arthur Shenton, until 24 March 1871, after which the publisher was Joseph Mitchell, until 29 September 1871. The new publisher, M. Shenton, remained in place until 26 June 1874. when it was bought by a syndicate who renamed it The Western Australian Times and who in September 1874 increased production to two editions a week. On 18 November 1879, it was relaunched as The West Australian. [11] In October 1883, production was increased to three editions per week; two years later it became a daily publication. The proprietors of the West Australian at that time also inaugurated the Western Mail , in 1885. Initially, delivery of the paper beyond settled areas was problematic, but the growth and development of the rural railway system in the early 1900s facilitated wider circulation.


Clock on the former premises, Newspaper House, St Georges Terrace Newspaper house gnangarra-10.jpg
Clock on the former premises, Newspaper House, St Georges Terrace

Clock on the former premises, Newspaper House, St Georges Terrace Newspaper House, the former office and publishing plant of The West on St Georges Terrace, across the road from the Palace Hotel, was a prominent landmark in the life of the city and state for over 50 years. It was vacated in the mid-1980s for the ill-fated "Westralia Square" redevelopment which was completed in 2012 under the name Brookfield Place. The editorial staff was temporarily relocated in a nearby office building. Recognised as part of an important heritage precinct,[21] Newspaper House was scheduled for preservation and refurbishment. In 1988, larger and more modern accommodation for the paper's printing presses was commissioned in Osborne Park.[22] Ten years later, the editorial operations also moved to the Osborne Park complex.


In September 2015 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the acquisition of The Sunday Times , which would give Seven West Media a monopoly over major newspapers in the state. [12] Finalisation of the deal, which includes the website PerthNow, was announced by The West on 8 November 2016. [13] In May 2019, SWM acquired Community Newspaper Group, adding 13 titles to the newspaper suite in WA, and have since moved all of the community websites onto the PerthNow website.

Circulation and profits slump

The West recorded a significant fall of nearly 25% in profit in June 2016. A serious drop in circulation was also reported with average weekday circulation down from 157,000 to 145,000, while the weekend edition averaged 241,000, down from 258,000. Cost-saving measures such as staff redundancies was attributed to the poor performance. [14]



The first book published in Western Australia, Report of the Late Trial for Libel!!! Clarke versus MacFaul (Fremantle, 1835), [18] by the future editor of the Swan River Guardian William Nairne Clark, concerned a libel case brought against the editor of the Perth Gazette, Charles Macfaull, by the accusations of incompetence and impugned character printed in regard to a Captain Clark. [19] A letter of apology was refused and the court awarded damages of £27 to the captain of the vessel. Macfaull maintained his reputation although his resources were significantly reduced by the verdict. [20]

In February 2005 former Australian Labor prime minister Bob Hawke labelled the paper "a disgrace to reasonable objective journalism". [21] Academic Peter van Onselen substantiated this attack, identifying 10 pro-Opposition front-page headlines in the lead-up to the 2005 state election, but no pro-Government headlines. [22]

In May 2007, then attorney-general and health minister in the State Labor government, Jim McGinty, described the newspaper as "the nation's most inaccurate and dishonest newspaper". He went on to attack the editor, Paul Armstrong, saying that "the board of West Australian Newspapers needs to sack the editor. It is personally driven by a particular individual". Armstrong responded by saying he "could not give a fat rat's arse" about Mr McGinty's comments and was then virulently attacked by premier Alan Carpenter, whose government the paper continued to denigrate until its defeat at the 2008 election. [23] [24]

On 8 December 2014 the management of West Australian Newspapers announced that printed editions of The West Australian would no longer be available in retail outlets located north of Broome in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, including towns such as Derby, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing, Wyndham and Kununurra, due to the expense of transporting and delivering printed newspapers. [25]

Notable present and past employees

See also


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    1. "How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant" (PDF). Joshua S. Gans; Andrew Leigh. Australian National University. 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
    2. Seven West Media Limited (SWM) at Australian Securities Exchange
    3. Simons, Margaret (26 June 2007). "Crikey Bias-o-meter: The newspapers" . Retrieved 11 March 2017.
    4. "Bill has shown he can lead, but Libs have proven record for WA". The West Australian. 18 May 2019. p. 48.
    5. "The West Australian". 13 March 2021. p. 2.
    6. Bond, Bell and Holmes a Court:Bell at media industry reference
    7. 175 years of The West Australian
    8. West Australian Newspapers Holdings Limited Annual Report, 1992, p 33
    9. West Australian Newspapers to buy Seven Media at MarketWatch, 20 February 2011
    10. The West Australian, 17 November 1979, p.39
    11. "The West Australian". 18 November 1879. p. 2. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
    12. "Sunday Times sale to The West Australian owner Seven West Media receives ACCC approval". ABC News. 15 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
    13. "SWM finalises purchase of The Sunday Times". The West Australian, 8 November 2016, page 3
    14. "Profits plunge at The West Australian newspaper as circulation, advertising drop". ABC News . 16 September 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
    15. 1 2 3 4 175 years of the West Australian at
    16. 1 2 Chris Thomson West Australian editor Armstrong shunted The Age BusinessDay 16 December 2008
    17. Nick Perpitch Brett McCarthy goes from Sunday to weekdays at The West Australian The Australian 16 March 2009 Archived 14 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
    18. Both names are noted misspelled in the title, 'Clarke' is Captain Clark and 'Macfaul' is Charles Macfaull (de garis, Bolton, LISWA).
    19. G. C. Bolton, 'Clark, William Nairne (1804–1854)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 2 November 2018.
    20. Steve Howell and Jane Jones, Our Prized Possessions - Rarities Revealed : An Exhibition of WA Stories and Treasure (30 June to 26 August 2007).
    21. Price, Matt (21 February 2005). "Bias grabs the headlines as state's media go to war". The Australian . p. 4.
    22. van Onselen, Peter. "Western Australia's State Election: Democracy in Action?" (PDF). Democratic Audit of Australia (February 2005). Retrieved 31 December 2018.
    23. Chris Merritt (17 May 2007). "Fire editor or 'no shield'". perthnow ( Archived from the original on 18 July 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
    24. Margaret Simons (22 May 2007). "Paul Armstrong: the wild West Australian under attack". Crikey . Retrieved 31 December 2018.
    25. Natalie Jones (8 December 2014). "The West Australian cuts distribution, says 'too expensive' to deliver newspapers to remote areas". ABC News . Retrieved 11 August 2015.
    26. Gold Walkley Honour Roll at Walkley Foundation

    Further reading