Some two years after John Fawkner established the Launceston Advertiser, William Mann set up a rival newspaper based on radical principles, the Independent.
In 1835 it was renamed the Cornwall Chronicle and six months later taken over by its editor, a retired naval captain, William Lushington Goodwin.
Goodwin at its inauguration claimed "personality, scurrility, or abuse, shall never disgrace our Journal," but he quickly descended into invective against the administration, and then into personal attacks.
Recalling in 1869 the early days of newspapers in Launceston Henry Button referred to the Cornwall Chronicle, and especially its satirical cartoons, as 'abominably scurrilous'.
Goodwin became a vexatious opponent of nearly everyone with prestige and power in the town.
As Andrew Bent and John Fawkner before him had done, he quickly antagonised Lieutenant-Governor Arthur, and within a few months of John Franklin's arrival, was at odds with him too.
He armed his satire with new weapons, including some of Australia's earliest satirical etchings like the one against the notorious Gagging Act showing members of the Chamber (of the Legislative Council) hit by a backfire of Infamy, Disgrace and Shame from their cannon, the Gagging Machine.
Goodwin denigrated all the colony's institutions, too.
A mechanics' institute was established in 1842 by some of the town's leading citizens, including the reverends John West and Charles Price, Mr William Henty and Police Magistrate William Breton.
Goodwin was its staunchest opponent. He criticised its activities and lampooned its lecturers; several withdrew rather than face his sarcasm.
Goodwin believed most eminent Launcestonians associated with the town's administration, churches and businesses to be part of a ruling 'clique'. His claim was that they used their position to benefit themselves at ordinary people's expense.
One target was Capt. Matthew Curling Friend, appointed Port Officer at George Town, a role Goodwin coveted.
As well as outright attacks, he published an anonymous letter in the Cornwall Chronicle that associated Friend with a man convicted of 'unnatural practices'.
The ensuing libel case cost Goodwin 400 pounds, an enormous sum. When Friends' wife died during the acrimonious battle, it was attributed to mental strain.
The Rev. Dr Browne at St John's thought so, and spoke against Goodwin from the pulpit as a murderer.
- Next week: A moderating voice and a post-convict vision: The Launceston Examiner.