The Melbourne Advertiser, handwritten and published by John Pascoe Fawkner, appeared on 1 January 1838. It contained news items, notices, advertisements, shipping intelligence and a poet's corner. This was an illegal production, published without the recognisances and sureties required by the Press Act administered from Sydney, and Fawkner was obliged to close it after nine issues. Melbourne's very early papers, moving through changes in ownership and combination, were the forerunners of the major Melbourne newspapers lasting into the current century.
The city played a central role in the early development of national radio, telegraphy and telephony. Its early history provides many examples of technical innovation: Australia's first telegraph line from Williamstown to Melbourne, opened in 1854; the establishment in 1880 of the Melbourne Telephone Exchange, Australia's first; and the Marconi Company's two-way radio station, another Australian first, opened at Queenscliff, Victoria, in 1905, a model for subsequent developments by the Commonwealth. As the site of Australia's first Federal Government from 1901, Melbourne was also home to the Postmaster General's Department which was to have regulatory control over broadcasting.