Newspapers that tell Australia’s multicultural stories in their own language are now available online through the National Library of Australia’s award-winning Trove discovery service.
Under the National Library’s Australian Newspaper Digitisation Program, selected German, Italian and Estonian community newspapers have now been digitised. They include German newspapers The Adelaider Deutsche Zeitung (1851 and 1860-62), Suedaustralische Zeitung/ Sud-Australische Zeitung (1850-1851), Sud-Australische Zeitung (1860-1874), an Italian newspaper, Il Giornale Italiano (The Italian Journal) (1932-1940) and an Estonian newspaper, Meie Kodu (Our Home – 1949-1954).
Director of Digitisation and Photography at the National Library of Australia, Wan Wong, said these were the first non-English language newspapers to be delivered through Trove, the National Library’s free discovery service.
‘These newspapers reflect the diversity of the Australian community in its early years,’ she said. ‘They provide an alternative glimpse into our history, telling the migrant experience in their own language.’
The oldest newspapers, from Germany, date back to May 1850. Although they focused mainly on news from the homeland, they also found room for market prices and ads for pills and ointments.
The first edition of the Italian Journal describes itself as ‘non-political, non-partisan, non-sectarian but bright, breezy, newsy and fearless ….’ it was specifically designed for the thousands of Italian workers who migrated to Australia. Content ranged from headlines urging readers to rely on Mussolini to save world peace to recipes for fish with baked potatoes.
The Estonian paper, Meie Kodu, which is still published today, acknowledged, in its first issue in 1949, that publication may be an ambitious venture with the total number of Estonians in the country at only 3000 – but steadily increasing.
Selection of community language newspapers for this pilot digitisation project was based on whether the titles were microfilmed, their copyright status and on specific interest from local communities.
Through the National Library’s newspaper digitisation project, 7 million pages, from a total of 270 newspapers are available online through Trove. To find these multicultural newspapers search the alphabetical list under “Show all titles” at http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper?q=