Harman Patil (Editor)

The West Australian

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Daily newspaper

Seven West Media

5 January 1833


Brett McCarthy

Political alignment

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), as is the state's other major newspaper, The Sunday Times. The West is the second-oldest continuously produced newspaper in Australia, having been published since 1833. The West tends to have conservative leanings, and has mostly supported the Liberal–National Party Coalition. 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.


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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 (a daily average of less than 70,000). Online readership is limited by requirement of paid subscription ($10 per week or $520 p.a.) 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.

The Saturday edition was rebranded as The Weekend West in October 2010. 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.

Political leanings

The West has conservative leanings, and has mostly supported the Liberal–National Party Coalition throughout the political group's existence. At the state election held in March 2017, the newspaper's editorial endorsed the Australian Labor Party opposition, led by Mark McGowan, over the Coalition government led by Colin Barnett.


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.

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


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


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


  • 1833–1846 Charles Macfaull
  • 1847–1871 Arthur Shenton
  • 1871–1874 Mercy Shenton
  • 1874–1879 Rev. C. G. Nicolay and John Rowland Jones; Henry Hullock
  • 1879–1887 Sir Thomas Cockburn-Campbell
  • 1887–1916 John Winthrop Hackett
  • 1916–1927 Alfred Langler
  • 1927–1951 Charles Patrick Smith
  • 1951–1956 James Edward "Jim" Macartney
  • 1956–1972 W. T. G. (William Thomas Griffith) "Griff" Richards
  • 1972-1972 F. B. (Fred) Morony
  • 1972–1983 M. C. (Bon) Uren
  • 1983–1987 D. B. (Don) Smith
  • 1987–1988 R. E. (Bob) Cronin
  • 1988–1990 Don Baker
  • 1990–2000 Paul Murray
  • 2000–2003 Brian Rogers
  • 2003–2008 Paul Armstrong
  • 2008–2009 R. E. (Bob) Cronin
  • 2009–present Brett McCarthy
  • Controversies

    In February 2005 former Australian Labor prime minister Bob Hawke labelled the paper "a disgrace to reasonable objective journalism". 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.

    In May 2007, then attorney-general and health minister in the State Labor government, 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 and was then virulently attacked by premier Alan Carpenter 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.


    The West Australian Wikipedia