As a final bit of investigation around the Madeleine Smith case I thought I’d have a look at how widely it was reported in Australia and New Zealand.
First of all I went to QueryPic to see if the case had registered at all:
which it had – a massive peak for 1857 when the trial took place. Remember that 1857 was the year of the Indian Mutiny and the reports of that might be expected to take precedence over a murder trial on the other side of the world.
Searching Trove, the National Library of Australia online newspaper archive, showed it had been major news with most papers reprinting the Times summary of the case [PDF via Evernote] and many the long report of the trial [PDF via Evernote] – both these are from the Sydney Morning Herald.
It was much the same thing in New Zealand, and when the news broke it almost beat news of the Indian Mutiny for importance [PDF via Evernote] and newspapers the whole progess of the trial – as in this PDF from the Otago Witness.
It’s worth noting that even though the trial was old news by the time news reached Australia and New Zealand it was still a major sensation. In the days before either Australia or New Zealand were connected to the outside world via undersea telegraph cables, news could take two or three months to reach the Antipodes. In this case while the trial took place in Edinburgh in early July, news and detailed reports did not reach Australia until nearly the end of September, and New Zealand two or three weeks later …
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