The Australian community newspaper industry began in 1843 with the Parramatta Chronicle and the Cumberland Times (NSW). The Williamstown Chronicle was the first Victorian suburban newspaper in 1854, followed in 1858 by the Brighton Southern Cross and the Footscray Advertiser in 1859.
Prices ranged from a penny to a penny-halfpenny.
Free circulation started in the 1920s but during the 1930s circulation was still a mixture of “free” and “paid”. In 1941 a wartime crisis over newsprint restrictions led a group of Melbourne publishers to form the Melbourne Suburban Newspapers’ Association. Sydney publishers formed the similar Suburban Newspapers’ Association of New South Wales in 1969.
The post-war building boom in Melbourne and Sydney decentralised many community and commercial developments. New, free suburban newspapers grew almost as quickly as housing estates. In the 1960s the few remaining paid circulation newspapers switched to free distribution. In 1968 ASNA (Australian Suburban newspapers Association) was formed.
In 2002, the name was changed to Community Newspapers of Australia (CNA) to attempt to more accurately describe our members.
The CNA has two divisions:
Northern (New South Wales, NT, ACT and Queensland)
Southern (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia).