The most successful of a number of colonial imitations of the London prototype, Melbourne Punch (Punch from 1900) was founded on 2 August 1855 by the publishers and proprietors Edgar Ray and Frederick Sinnett. As first editor, Sinnett gathered around him a bright and witty coterie of writers and artists, among them Butler Cole Aspinall, R.H. Horne, James Smith, Thomas Carrington and Nicholas Chevalier. Smith became editor in 1857, to be followed, among others, by Charles Bright and William Jardine Smith, all of whom used the basic format of articles and sketches on social and political topics, short humorous and satirical pieces, humorous and satirical verse, jokes and cartoons.
In the early years of its establishment Melbourne Punch had its rivals, especially Touchstone and Humbug (both 1869-70), but the population of Melbourne was then too small to support three similar periodicals, all of which were dependent on shared contributors and subscribers. Published and owned by Alex McKinley from 1883, Melbourne Punch incorporated the Melbourne Bulletin in 1886, after which society news became more of a feature. Punch retained its popularity into the 20th century, continuing in publication through various proprietors until its incorporation into Table Talk in December 1925.