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John Fairfax
, 1873

by Charles Summers

carrara marble

John Fairfax (1804-1877), newspaper publisher, was born in England. After leaving school at the age of twelve he was apprenticed to a printer and bookseller. In 1838 he immigrated to Sydney with his wife Sarah (née Reading). Three years later he and Charles Kemp purchased the seven-year old Sydney Herald, renaming it the Sydney Morning Herald the following year. With the purchase, Fairfax began a family association with the paper that would last for over five generations and nearly 150 years. No other newspaper in the world has been so long under one family's control and no other family in Australia has subsequently formed such a successful entrepreneurial dynasty. In 1853 John Fairfax bought Kemp out and went into partnership with his eldest son, Charles John Fairfax (1829-1863), who was followed into the business by his brother James Reading Fairfax (1834-1919).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of John Fairfax Holdings Ltd 2002
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2002.75