1. Themes
  2. A to Z

Syme, David (1827 - 1908)

North Berwick, Scotland
Kew, Victoria, Australia
Newspaper proprietor

David Syme left Scotland after the death of his father. After a time studying in Germany, in 1851 Syme went to California via Cape Horn on an unsuccessful gold seeking mission. By mid-1852 David Syme was in Melbourne, and in the next three years prospected with some success on the Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Beechworth diggings. In 1855 he lost a possible fortune at Egerton, near Ballarat, when a promising claim was jumped.

Syme then abandoned gold seeking and embarked on a career of road contracting. In 1856 he was encouraged to take a half-share in the Melbourne Age which his brother Ebenezer had bought for £200. David helped to manage the publication for a time, but returned to road contracting in 1857. Upon the retirement of Ebenezer in 1859, Syme reluctantly returned to The Age, and upon Ebenezer’s death in 1860, began a 50 year career as the newspaper’s publisher and editor.

Cate Elkner

Sayers C. E., 'Syme, David (1827 - 1908)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976, pp. 232-236. Details

See also