In Melbourne, an Enchanting Hyperlocal Paper for the Digital Age

The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. This week’s issue is written by Natasha Frost, a reporter based in Melbourne.

In August 1972, a collective of writers, mostly in Melbourne, released the first issue of a biweekly broadsheet that would chronicle a certain corner of Australian countercultural life — starting with a scathing piece on the “young press baron” Rupert Murdoch.

Over a run of about 40 months, The Digger newspaper featured fervent opinion columns, extended reviews and cultural listings, as well as what it described as “gonzo accounts” of Australian life. It touched on topics including sex education, Aboriginal rights, republicanism (“It’s time we chucked the Queen of Oz and her GG,” an abbreviation for governor general, “into the sea”) and the joys of riding a bike.

The paper was connected with some of the most important names in Australian literature of the time, and it played a significant role in starting the Australian novelist Helen Garner’s career as a writer. (The Digger folded in 1975 when, as the founder Phillip Frazer wrote in 2018, it “ran out of money and lawyers.”)

Five decades later, another Australian publication is channeling some of that same irreverent spirit and commitment to, as its editors put it, “reportage.”

The Paris End is a longform Substack newsletter started around a year ago by the writers Cameron Hurst, Sally Olds and Oscar Schwartz, whose ages run from about 25 to about 35. (Mr. Schwartz has previously contributed to The New York Times.)

The newsletter is named for the local nickname for the eastern end of Collins Street in downtown Melbourne — once home to the city’s artistic community, and today the site of luxury hotels and glitzy international fashion boutiques. (The newsletter does not exclusively, or even primarily, trade in stories from that part of town.)

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