The West Australian

The West Australian
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Seven West Media
Editor Brett McCarthy
Founded 5 January 1833
Political alignment Centre-right [1]
Headquarters 50 Hasler Road,
Osborne Park, Western Australia
ISSN 0312-6323

The West Australian, widely known as The West (Saturday edition: The Weekend 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.[3] The West is the second-oldest continuously produced newspaper in Australia, having been published since 1833. The West has strong conservative leanings, and has consistently supported the Liberal–National Party Coalition.[4] Of Australia's largest newspapers by circulation, The West is ranked fourth and is the only newspaper in the top 20 not owned by either News Limited or Fairfax Media.


As of January 2015, refraining from reporting greatly reduced print circulation, the paper claimed "readership across print and online platforms" of 1.8 million per month[5] (a daily average of less than 70,000). Online readership is limited by requirement of paid subscription ($10 per week or $520 p.a.)[6] According to Roy Morgan Research, total cross-platform readership is less than 50,000 daily, having declined 4.5% in the year to September 2014.[7]

The Saturday edition was rebranded as The Weekend West in October 2010.[8] There is an enlarged classified-advertising section for motor vehicles each Wednesday.

A digital archive subscription enables past editions to be accessed for $220 per month or $2,200 per year.[9]


The tabloid 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. A "breaking news" and video news website are also staffed in the same area, together with sales and other departments.[10][11]

In the 1990s, the newspaper introduced a weekly "Earth 2000" segment on environmental matters and an "Asia Desk" feature covering events mainly in South East Asia.

Opinion columnists now include Zoltan Kovacs, Paul Murray and a variety of writers syndicated from Fairfax Media including Gerard Henderson, Danny Katz and Brian Toohey .

The paper publishes a supplement titled WestWeekend Magazine which is included as an insert in The Weekend West.

Corporate ownership

The West used this Fokker 27 in the mid-1990s to deliver its newspapers on a nightly flight from Perth to the north of Western Australia
Clock on the former premises, Newspaper House, St Georges Terrace

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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] After having acquired Seven Media Group in February 2011, West Australian Newspapers Holdings Limited became Seven West Media, Australia's largest diversified media business.[15]


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.[16] 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.[17] 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.


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.[18] It was vacated in the mid-1980s for the ill-fated "Westralia Square" redevelopment which was completed in 2012 under the name Brookfield Place.[19] The editorial staff was temporarily relocated in a nearby office building. Recognised as part of an important heritage precinct,[20] 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.[21] Ten years later, the editorial operations also moved to the Osborne Park complex.[13]


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.[22] Finalisation of the deal, which includes the website PerthNow, was announced by The West on 8 November 2016.[23]



In February 2005 former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke labelled the paper "a disgrace to reasonable objective journalism".[27] Academic Peter van Onselen substantiated this attack, identifying 10 pro-Opposition front page headlines in the leadup to the 2005 state election, but no pro-Government headlines.[28]

In May 2007, then attorney-general and health minister 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[29] and was then virulently attacked by premier Alan Carpenter[30] whose government the paper continued to denigrate until its defeat at the 2008 election.

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.[31]

Notable present and past employees

See also


  1. "How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant" (PDF). Joshua S. Gans; Andrew Leigh. Australian National University. 2009. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  2. Seven West Media Limited (SWM) at Australian Securities Exchange
  3. A small-circulation state edition of Murdoch's national daily The Australian targets an elite readership group in a way which does not seriously impinge on the more demotic audience of The West Australian.
  4. Simons, Margaret (26 June 2007). "Crikey Bias-o-meter: The newspapers". Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  5. Rate Card 2014-2015 at official website. Accessed 3 January 2015
  6. Choose your subscription at official website. Accessed 3 January 2015
  7. Newspaper Cross-Platform Audience, 12 months to September 2014 at Roy Morgan Research. Accessed 3 January 2015
  8. Varley, Melinda "West Australian rebrands weekend masthead" B&T magazine, 21 October 2010
  9. Corporate and Personal Subscription to Archive Digital Editions at the official website
  10. Hatch, Daniel. "Two teams now one in new era for journalism", WestBusiness, The West Australian", 27 February 2015, p 68
  11. Mumford, Will WAN, Seven Perth combine for integrated newsroom The Newspaper Works, 27 August 2014. Accessed 27 February 2015
  12. Bond, Bell and Holmes a Court:Bell at media industry reference
  13. 1 2 175 years of The West Australian
  14. West Australian Newspapers Holdings Limited Annual Report, 1992, p 33
  15. West Australian Newspapers to buy Seven Media at MarketWatch, 20 February 2011
  16. The West Australian, 17 November 1979, p.39
  17. "The West Australian". The West Australian. 18 November 1879. p. 2. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  18. Newspaper House, home of The West Australian (picture) at State Library of Western Australia online catalogue. Retrieved 10 December 2012
  19. Brookfield Place (City Square) at Brookfield Multiplex official site, 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2012
  20. Heritage Council report
  21. Newspaper House – building in Perth to be vacated by the West Australian from March 1988, photographs and reminiscences Newspaper House news, March 1988, p.1+
  22. "Sunday Times sale to The West Australian owner Seven West Media receives ACCC approval". ABC News. 15 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  23. "SWM finalises purchase of The Sunday Times". The West Australian, 8 November 2016, page 3
  24. 1 2 3 4 175 years of the West Australian at
  25. 1 2 Chris Thomson West Australian editor Armstrong shunted The Age BusinessDay 16 December 2008
  26. 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.
  27. Price, Matt (21 February 2005). "Bias grabs the headlines as state's media go to war". The Australian. p. 4.
  28. van Onselen, Peter. "Western Australia's State Election: Democracy in Action?" (PDF). Democratic Audit of Australia (February 2005). Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  29. Chris Merritt (17 May 2007). "Fire editor or 'no shield'". perthnow ( Archived from the original on 18 July 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  30. Margaret Simons (22 May 2007). "Paul Armstrong: the wild West Australian under attack". Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  31. 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.
  32. 1 2 Gold Walkley Honour Roll at Walkley Foundation

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