William Henry Traill - Journalism


He began doing journalistic work, contributing a regular column headed Passing Thoughts to the Express, and in 1869 gave up his position to go on the literary staff of the Brisbane Courier and Queenslander as special commissioner investigating the land dummying being carried on in connection with the opening up of the Darling Downs. In 1871 he married Agnes Lewis, half-sister of his first wife. He subsequently purchased the Darling Downs Gazette, but later returned to the Courier, and in 1878 became editor of the The Sydney Mail. He held this position for about a year, resigning to become Reuter's agent for New South Wales. He continued to contribute to the The Sydney Mail, Echo and The Sydney Morning Herald. At the end of January 1880 the Bulletin was started and Traill began contributing leaders to it. As the result of libel actions against that journal it fell into the hands of its printer. He sold it to Traill who met Archibald and Haynes, the original proprietors, and agreed with them to transfer a fourth interest to each of them on similar terms to those of the sale to him. They agreed to work together to make the Bulletin a success, but soon afterwards Haynes and Archibald were imprisoned for failing to pay the costs of the Clontarf libel action, and Traill became editor.

He fixed its political policy, "land nationalisation and protection, championed the Irish home rule case ... and took a very practical interest in its welfare—from the production of a brilliantly-written unanswerable leader, to the phlegmatic explosions of an obsolete gas engine". (J. F. Archibald, the Lone Hand, September 1907). Having handed over the editorship to Archibald, Traill in 1883 went to America and engaged Livingston Hopkins as a comic draughtsman, and about two years later travelled to England and engaged Phil May for similar work. These two men did remarkable work, and were largely responsible for the success of the Bulletin.

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