The Advocate

Burnie in 1895 (AOT, PH30/1/754)

The Advocate newspaper and its predecessors contain much of the history of north-west Tasmania. In 1845 Robert Harris was apprenticed to publisher Henry Dowling in Launceston. He established his own printery in 1863, and after a short period as owner/publisher of the Cornwall Chronicle, moved to Victoria and New Zealand. In 1890 he set up with his son Charles in Burnie, publishing the Wellington Times and from 1899 the North Western Advocate in Devonport.

The newspapers combined later that year to become the Advocate. It was recognised as one of Australia's leading regional daily newspapers and a leader in changing technology, the first daily newspaper in Tasmania and sometimes Australia to use spot colour in advertisements (1957), offset printing (1968), facsimile transmission of advertisements (1974) and computerised production (1981). The Harris family was highly regarded in community life on the Coast, but its involvement with the Advocate ended with the departure of the last of the sixth generation in 2001. On its centenary in 1990, the Company (incorporated since 1904) became owners of the Launceston Examiner, in partnership with Rural Press Ltd, which bought the Advocate in 2003.

Lloyd Harris