Sir Langdon Bonython Sells 'The Advertiser' for More Than £1,000,000
MELBOURNE GROUP BUYS - — — — BIG COMPANY TO BE FLOATED SHARE ISSUE TO ADELAIDE PUBLIC ----- BONYTHON FAMILY TO RETAIN INTEREST
"The Advertiser" and its associated papers were sold this week by Sir Langdon Bonython, the sole proprietor, for more than a million pounds. It is understood that the. actual price paid was £1,250,000. The deal also covers the whole of the property on which the newspaper office stands. A group of Melbourne financiers, with Mr. W. L. Baillieu at its head, is the buyer.
Mr. Baillieu is one of the directors of The Herald and Weekly Times Limi ted, which lately became interested in "The Register." He was also recently concerned in the purchase of 'The West Australian," Perth, and the flotation of the company now operating that journal. It is believed that a large company will be formed to take over 'The Advertiser' and the other papers connected with it, and that most of the shares will be offered to the Adelaide public. Sir Langdon, it is reported, will retain a con
siderable Interest in the company, and in all probability will become chairman of the board of directors. Mr. J. Laving ton Bonython, son of Sir Langdon, and Lord Mayor, is also likely to be offered a seat on the board. 'The Advertiser' which has been built up entirely by Sir Landon Bonython over many years, is known to be one of the most prosperous newspaper businesses in the Commonwealth. His sagacious management has placed the paper in the forefront of Australian journalism, both in regard to profits and circulation.
Begun in 1858 — Newspaper Romance
Fifty-four years ago Sir Langdon Bony thon offered to buy 'The Advertiser' from the then chief proprietor. It was not, however, until five years later (1879) that he secured an interest. He became sole proprietor in 1893. The history of 'The Advertiser,' coupled with that of Sir Langdon, is one of the outstanding romances of the newspaper world, for he joined the literary staff of the paper as a junior reporter more than 64 years ago, and from then on had his eyes on the editorial chair. Wlfen 'The Adelaide Times' stopped publication in 1858 a company was formed, and the new publication was styled 'The Advertiser .' The first issue appeared on July 12, 1858. and 'The Chronicle' five days later. Then the offices were at 117 Hindley street, and it was not until 1863 that 'The Express,' an afternoon paper, was begun. Clergyman First Editor Fortune did not favor the company, and it was forced into liquidation. The pro perty was offered by auction in 1864, but it was not until a month later that it was bought by Mr. C. H. Goode for a syn dicate of eight for £3,510. The syndicate included Mr. J. H. Barrow, a Congrega- tional minister, who was brought to South Australia to Clayton Church, and who, after being a writer of leading articles on 'The Register' was first editor of 'The 'Advertiser.' Four years before Sir Langdon (then Mr.) Bonython joined the staff as a junior reporter the premises were moved to Grenfell street, and 11 years later Mr. Barrow and a Mr. Thomas Ring became sole proprietors. In February, 1869, 'The Advertiser' Office was moved to its present position, and in 1878 a new firm was created, com prising Mr. Thomas King and Mr. Fre derick Britten Burden. This firm con tinued until April, 1881, when the name of John Langdon Bonython appeared for the first time as a member of the firm. Three years later Mr. Thomas King sold his interests, and Messrs. Burden and Bonython held the reins for the next, 10 years. Ambition Achieved It was in 1893 that Sir Langdon achieved his ambition and became sole proprietor. Today 'The Advertiser' is sold at l½d., but from 1858 to 1864 the price was 4d. For the next five years it was sold at 3d., and for the following 14 years at 2d. On January 1, 1884, the price, was reduced to 1d., and this was largely responsible for a marked increase in circulation. It was a bold bid for fortune, and the turning of the policy of 'The Advertiser' from free trade to protection also proved beneficial. Sir Langdon can look back to the early eighties as a period when the for tunes of 'The Advertiser' began to soar. With a reduction in price, which held a great appeal to the public, and with a change of policy, the publication became a force in the country as a rooming paper. With a penchant for hard work Sir Langdon lost no opportunity to further the interests of and expand his journals.
Day in and day out he kept his finger on the pulse of his great newspaper con cern, and not least on the trend of poli tics and commerce. He was happiest when sitting in the editorial chair, and in the building of his several papers found work a recreation rather than a task. Sir Langdon celebrated his eightieth birthday on October 15 last. Although born within the sound of Bow Bells, he represents the Bonythons of Bonython and Carclew, in Cornwall. He received his knighthood in 1898, and was made K.C.M.G. in 1919. He was knighted in the first instance for services in connection with public
SIR LANGDON BONYTHON
SIR LANGDON BONYTHON
education, and he and the late Sir James Fairfax were among the first Australian newspaper owner to hold this distinction. He was made a K.C.M.G. for services rendered to the Commonwealth of Austra lia, and incidentally is the only Australian newspaper owner to hold this distinction. Public Benefactor Recognised as one of the wealthiest men in Australia, Sir Langdon has been a public benefactor. Eight years ago he announced his gift of £40,000 to the University of Adelaide for the erection of a great hall, and five years later gave £20,000 to endow the Chair of Law. He has also made valuable gifts to the School of Mines, an institution of which he has been president for nearly 39 years. In addition he has been a friend to the South Australian Teachers' Association, the Royal Geographical Society, the Cor nish Association, and many other organisa tions. Although he has passed his eightieth year he still takes a keen interest in the fortunes of bis paper.