So many of us grew up reading The Sun News-Pictorial, the Melbourne tabloid for the whole family. Through a recent donation of the microfilm masters from Grace Management Information Systems, the Library is now able to pursue digitising The Sun, and making it freely available via Trove.

A child places an egg in the Eggs for the Sick box for the Queen Victoria Hospital.
The Sun News Pictorial, September 17, 1924, p12. The annual egg appeal asked people to donate eggs to their local hospital – in this case the Queen Victoria Hospital. The hospital would in turn use the eggs to help feed the patients throughout the year.

The Sun News-Pictorial began in 1922 and ran until 1990 when it merged with The Herald to form the Herald Sun. The Sun’s most obvious point of difference was firstly, its size; it was much smaller than the other Melbourne dailies The Age, The Argus and The Herald. This made it ideal for reading when commuting to and from work and great for the kitchen table or the comfortable chair alike. The other major difference was The Sun contained many photographs in each issue, hence its full name: The Sun News-Pictorial. Those photos were often of local people, places and activities; images which resonated with Victorians.

This difference is illustrated in The Sun’s first edition. The front page of The Age and The Argus for September 11, 1922 consisted of several columns of dense advertisements and notices. Whilst The Herald had news reports on its cover, it was very busy, with over a dozen articles. The Sun‘s first front page (below) consisted of 8 black and white photographs with captions only.

The Sun News Pictorial; first issue; September 22 1911, p. 1

The Sun also included plenty of content for the whole family. Readers might be familiar with regular columns which ran for years such as 50-50; A place in the Sun and Here there and Everywhere. There was plenty of content for the kids with the Corinella page featuring competitions and cartoons in the Sunbeams supplement.

Sunbeams Insert from The Sun News Pictorial, December 15 1925

The Sun also published a variety of articles devoted to topics they deemed of interest to women, such as The Way of Women, Women’s Varied Interests, Mothers Wives & Maids and Women in the Home. These columns reported on social outings, bridge parties, dances, children’s activities and social gossip- reflecting the common household divisions and society norms of the day(s).

The above columns appear regularly in The Sun News Pictorial.

The Sun was also regularly publishing snap shots of athletes playing sport. In fact The Sun often carried a detailed sports report on page 2- a bold change so early in the paper which usually saw advertisements and classifieds.

Women’s Cricket at Albert Park taken from The Sun News Pictorial; November 23, 1925, p. 1. Ladies Day at Metropolitan; The Sun News Pictorial September 27,1924, p. 14.

The abundance of birth, death and marriage notices, photographs of weddings, law and shipping lists provide a wealth of information for researchers. One great avenue for family research was the publication of exam results (below). Digitisation of all these names will make research so much easier.

Examination results were often published in The Sun.
The Sun News Pictorial, November 24 1925, p.14. Published exam results can be a great find for researchers with students names listed- thereby placing them at a certain time in their life- with the added detail of how they went!

Often the middle section of The Sun contained a variety of photos from around the state, crucially including the names of the people (and making it likely they would in turn buy the paper). This is great detail for family historians.

The Sun also devoted a regular section on finance, titled Money and Markets– perhaps the first version of Barefoot Investor? Another regular feature was on regional Victoria, such as the one on Horsham, below.

Horsham is the featured country town in The Sun.
The Sun News Pictorial, October 7 1924

One of my favourite images I’ve come across is a photo of Mrs H. Bullock sitting on her pet donkey. This is a great example of what The Sun has to offer- an unfamous person doing an unfamous thing in an unfamous place, which seems to have appealed to many as The Sun became Australian largest selling newspaper.

The Sun News Pictorial, Nov 25 1926, p. 14

Currently to access The Sun, patrons need to the view the microfilm at State Library Victoria in Melbourne. We’re hoping we raise enough funds to digitize from 1922 to 1954 (after 1955, newspapers are still in copyright). Digitisation will allow so many to access details of their histories, and Victoria’s past, from anywhere, saving time and effort (trying to find a parking spot!), as well as helping to preserve the original hardcopy holdings.

If you’d like to support the appeal- you can donate online.

Beach goers on the front page of The Sun summer in 1925.
The Sun December 15, 1925, p.1

This article has 17 comments

  1. Joan Washington

    I grew up reading The Sun every morning. My father worked for the Herald Sun for fifty years. Now I have to walk about a kilometer every morning to buy it, including Sunday, as home deliveries have stopped in our area. Well worth it.
    So glad that The Sun will now be digitised. It will bring back many happy memories.

    • Hi Joan,
      Thanks for reading the blog and sharing your memories.

    • Christina Boys

      Hi Joan

      My Dad started work at the Herald Sun at age 16 as a Photo Engraver later in the 70s called a Graphic Reproductionist. He is 90 in a few weeks.. I read all the daily newspapers from the Age of 5 and still do today at 67. I am am keen to see the 1960’s papers as I was the poster child on the Front Page of the Herald Sun for the Royal Childrens Hospital appeal where I and my brother were patients. Christina Boys

      • Hi Christina
        Thanks for reading the blog.
        Just a note- newspapers published after 1955 are In Copyright, so we won’t be able to digitise the 1960s editions (unless we receive copyright permission from the copyright owners).
        You can see the papers on microfilm at the State Library though- and make copies.


  2. I was a paperboy in the forties and sold the Sun every morning in St Kilda.

    “Sun, Age or Argus ”

    My first job, very hard in the cold winter getting up at 6am.

  3. Christina Boys

    Hi Paul

    Did you get any original black and white photos when the Library received the Herald Sun Archives?

    • Hi Christiana,
      Yes we received over 1300 black and white photos from the Herald & Weekly Times. These include photos from The Sun and The Herald covering a range of people and subjects (The Herald Sun began in 1990).
      The collection spans 1920s up to the 1970s, most of which can be viewed online.


  4. i certainly remember collecting eggs for the hospital as a child in the 60s! Can’t imagine parents letting their kids go off on their own to collect eggs from random households these days!

  5. This is great news. I have two family ‘memories’ – one of my mother winning a spelling contest and having her picture on the front page of The Sun – another unfamous little girl and an unfamous event – and her father pictured in the newspaper after a pay robbery involving the Victorian Railways – he was an employee and not the robber, I hasten to add! Would love to access these pics, will certainly contribute to the cause!

  6. I loved reading your articles
    My grandfather was pictured in this newspaper on 23rd match 1924 His name was Alfred Harris and he was a stocker on HMS Repulse He is pictured with his then 3 1/2 year old nephew Jack Stobaus both wearing full Naval uniform It caused quiet a stir !
    I was hoping to find out more about Jack as we in England nave no further information about him or his family As the 100 year anniversary of the photo approaching I would love to learn more
    Keep up the good work

  7. Stewart VanLangenberg

    Thanks Paul. Great article, bringing back fond memories. I was a “paper boy” immediately after migrating to Australia from Sri Lanka in 1968, delivering the Sun and the Age every morning and have been an avid Sun, Herald and Herald-Sun reader ever since. I remember anxiously awaiting the publication of the 1970 HSC results sometime in January 1971. I would love to know the date (even approximately) when these results were published.

  8. Hello,
    Thank you for digitising the Sun News-Pictorial. I can see online a story and picture in the 24 August 1934 edition on page 29 of a recently arrived New Imperial motor cycle. Is there some way I can obtain a better quality photo of this story/picture? Is the hard copy of this page available in the library. I am in NSW

    • Hi Peter,
      Thank you for your question. Yes you can order a high quality digital copy of the story/ picture- which is taken from the original newspaper.
      The article is photographed in our studio. You can order online:
      from SLV’s catalogue record below, choose ‘Order A Digital Copy’ (its near the bottom of the page)

      Then enter the details of request- page number, date etc. and place the order.

      Thanks for reading the blog,

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