Before newspapers were ravaged by the digital age, they were a powerful force. This magisterial book reveals who owned Australia's newspapers and how they used them to wield political power. A corporate and political history of Australian newspapers spanning 140 years, it explains how Australia's media system came to be dominated by a handful of empires and powerful family dynasties. The book begins in 1803 with Australia's first newspaper owner—a convict who became a wealthy bank owner. Throughout the 20th century, Australians were unaware that they were reading newspapers owned by failed land boomers, powerful mining magnates, gangsters, bankers, and corporate titans.