The Australian kicked off its 50th birthday campaign on Wednesday and will celebrate the lead-up to its July 15 anniversary with an editorial look back at its biggest moments in journalism.
Launched in 1964 by Rupert Murdoch, The Australian became known for its support of economic liberalism, championing of entrepreneurs and dedication to holding government to account.
Today it is read by 3.1 million Australians every month across print, mobile, web and iPad.
The masthead will dedicate a digital hub to the anniversary, which will immerse readers in interactive features including video, image, cartoon and stories published since the paper’s inception.
It is one of several commemorations in the coming months.
The very first edition of The Australian – which explored everything from a feud between Liberal and Country Party members, to a guide for women on how to defend themselves on the street – will be recreated in digital form.
An editorial series will cover the events that have shaped Australia’s history over the last 50 years, with contributions from politicians including Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard and Peter Costello, while a gloss collectors’ edition magazine will showcase a selection of the paper’s best journalism, photography and cartoons as well as a list of the 50 most influential people of the time.
The Australian’s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell said when he looked back over recent years he was proud of the work the paper had done. “We have contributed significantly to Australian journalism,” he said.
“I know that not everyone has agreed with positions we took on important matters like floating the dollar, supporting competition or opposing maladministration and waste of public money.
“But I think 23 years of uninterrupted growth – driven by key policies we advocated and implemented by brave politicians from both sides of politics – says we are right on the big issues.”
The Australian CEO Nicholas Gray said: “Fifty years ago The Australian launched because the country needed a newspaper that advanced the nation’s welfare. This year we are saluting its proud past as we continue to evolve for more successes in the future.”
Read on as executives who played a major role in the national daily’s formative years nominate what they consider to be the five defining moments in The Australian’s history – featured in the March edition of The Bulletin.
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