The Courier-Mail began its life in 1846 when Arthur Lyon, and James Swan, published the first edition of the Moreton Bay Courier as a weekly.
In 1861 it became The Courier which it remained until it merged with The Daily Mail in 1933, in response to the effects of the Depression on both papers, thereby becoming The Courier-Mail. It was by then a daily newspaper which had survived where many others had failed and focused on the interests of Queensland. Sir Keith Murdoch was the founder of The Courier-Mail in its merged form and for nearly 20 years was its principal shareholder and dominant figure.
Following his death in 1952, Sir Keith’s controlling interest in Queensland Press Ltd owner of The Courier-Mail was sold. The Herald and Weekly Times Limited emerged with control that lasted until 1987 when Rupert Murdoch’s family company acquired the controlling interest which his father had earlier hoped for.
The Courier-Mail is now owned by News Corporation. It is widely regarded as Queensland’s newspaper due to its longstanding coverage of important matters of the day across the vast areas of the State, including triumphs and failures; floods, droughts and wars; human interest stories and holding governments and bureaucracies to account. The paper is especially acknowledged for its advocacy for Queenslanders and its courageous investigative journalism which uncovered widespread official corruption and led to the Fitzgerald Inquiry.
The “Courier-Mail Test” has since emerged as the unofficial rule of thumb for measuring decision-making by public officials and others. Over its life, the paper has been regarded as a good employer and a large employer of journalists who have gone on to media leadership positions nationally and internationally. Its role as an advertising medium has been central to the growth of many other businesses across Queensland.
It has continued its historical commitment to innovation by recently transitioning from broadsheet to tabloid format and investing heavily in a digital strategy to successfully compete in the increasingly competitive media world of 24 hour news and current affairs across print, tablet, mobile phone and pc. However, decades of dominance in advertising real estate, jobs and cars, has been challenged by the disruptive forces of competing digital advertisers.
Nevertheless, after nearly 170 years, The Courier-Mail remains one of Australia’s leading newspapers across print and digital formats and is one which has reflected and become part of Queensland’s culture and character.