Parramatta steam ship (here spelled Paramatta) launch at Blackwall, antique print. Original antique page from the Illustrated London News dated 20th. November, 1858. Built by the Thames Iron and Shipbuilding Company at their Orchard Yard, Blackwall, for the Royal Mail Steam-packet Company, the paddle-steamer was launched into the River Lea, “in the presence of an immense number of highly-gratified spectators.” Plying between London and Sydney, the journey on the ‘Parramatta’ took upwards of four months. The ship also shared its name with a suburb of Sydney. A previous ship of the same name was a schooner launched in 1798 in France. The British captured her in 1803. She sailed to Australia. There she became the flash point that led to the Rum Rebellion and the military coup that overthrew Governor William Bligh. She was lost in 1808.
The first issue of The Illustrated London News appeared on Saturday, 14 May 1842, timed to report on the young Queen Victoria‘s first masquerade ball. Its 16 pages and 32 wood engravings covered topics such as the war in Afghanistan, a train crash in France, a survey of the candidates for the US presidential election, extensive crime reports, theatre and book reviews, and a list of births, marriages and deaths. By 1863 The Illustrated London News was selling more than 300,000 copies every week, enormous figures in comparison to other British newspapers of the time. The ILN (as it was affectionately known) appeared weekly until 1971, then less frequently thereafter. Publication ceased in 2003.