Andrew Bent

Hobart Town, sketched by Joseph Lycett in 1821 when Andrew Bent was publishing the Hobart Town Gazette
(AOT, PH30/1/598)

Andrew Bent (17901851), printer, publisher and editor, arrived under sentence in Hobart in 1812. He became government printer in 1815, and in 1816 began the semi-official Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter, which he bought outright in 1824, declaring the freedom of the press. Lt-Governor Arthur was so offended by some Gazette articles that Bent was convicted of libel and imprisoned several times. His government work was withdrawn and a new official paper pirated the Gazette's title. Bent renamed his the Colonial Times.

Bent sold the paper in 1830, left for New South Wales in 1839, and died in the Sydney Benevolent Asylum. Though remembered as a champion of the freedom of the press, the quality of his work as a printer and publisher was perhaps his finest achievement. (See also 'Publishing'.)

Further reading: ADB 1; E Morris Miller, Pressmen and governors, Sydney, 1952.

Michael Sprod