The Mirror (Western Australia)

The Mirror was a weekly broadsheet newspaper published from 1921 until 1956. It was the "scandal sheet" of its day, dealing with divorce cases and scandals.

The Mirror
Owner(s)Victor Desmond Courtney
John Joseph Simons
HeadquartersMurray Street, Perth
Sister newspapersThe Call


In 1918, Victor Desmond Courtney in partnership with John Joseph Simons, became managing editor of a weekly sporting newspaper, The Sportsman, which covered racing, trotting, minor sports and theatricals. They expanded the scope of The Sportsman, to cover general local news and renamed it The Call. The paper gained publicity from a libel suit brought by the Lord Mayor of Perth, Sir William Lathlain.[1] They then bought a struggling Saturday-evening paper, The Sunday Mirror, for 100 pounds from Bryan's Print,[2] renaming it The Mirror, and building its circulation during the 1920s to over 10,000, largely through racy reporting of scandals and divorces.[1] "It was not a good paper" Courtney later admitted, "but it was a paper with the news and it was the news dished out in a breezy fashion while the entertainment angle of news presentation was kept well in mind". "It titillated Perth males in a constrained way and, unlike Truth, it was a 'clean dirty paper'."[2]The Mirror featured sport and sensation, finding scandalous headlines, such as "Nakedness at North Beach"[3] together with pious editorials.[4] The first edition of The Sunday Mirror was issued on 27 June 1920, for the price of 2d[5] and ran for 42 issues until 10 April 1921.

The Mirror was helped through the Great Depression by Money Words, a popular competition.[2]

Courtney was the editor at the paper until 1935, when Frank Davidson was appointed editor.[6]

In 1935, a syndicate led by Simons and including Courtney and mining entrepreneur Claude de Bernales purchased Western Press Limited, the publishers of The Sunday Times, for £55,000.[4][7] Simons remained the managing director of Western Press until his death in 1948.[4]

In 1955 Courtney sold Western Press to Rupert Murdoch's News Limited,[1] which closed the paper the following year. Gregory & Gothard describe the purchase as "a first tiny step on the way to (Murdoch) becoming a media czar".[2]


  1. Bolton, G. C. "Courtney, Victor Desmond (1894–1970)". Australian Dictionary. Australian National University. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  2. Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia, Jenny Gregory & Jan Gothard, eds, pp593
  3. "Nakedness at North Beach". The Mirror. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 1 April 1922. p. 2. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  4. Hunt, Lyall. "Simons, John Joseph (Jack) (1882–1948)". Australian Dictionary. Australian National University. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  5. "2d". The Sunday Mirror. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 27 June 1920. p. 1. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  6. McPhail, Isal. "Frank Davidson Interview". John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  7. "Big Newspaper Deal". The Mirror. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 16 March 1935. p. 1. Retrieved 28 August 2013.

Further reading

  • Wilde, W. H.; Hooton, Joy; Andrews, Barry (1994) [1985]. The Oxford companion to Australian Literature (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 302. ISBN 0-19-553381-X.
  • Davidson, Ron (1994). High Jinks at the Hot Pool : Mirror reflects the life of a City. Fremantle Arts Centre Press. ISBN 978-1-86368-090-5.
  • Gregory,Jenny (Ed); Gothard, Jan (Ed). Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia. Crawley: UWA Press. ISBN 978-1-921401-15-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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