Legendary Newspapers Denny JA Collections

Mataram - Djokjakarta (Yogyakarta)

by JJ Rizal

The Mataram newspaper can be considered as a marker of the arrival of a new era in the city of Yogyakarta, including in journalism. It was the Mataram newspaper that started to introduce Yogyakarta to the outside world, on par with the cities of Batavia, Surabaya, and Semarang. This newspaper was published when rail transportation made the city of Yogyakarta open from its isolation. In the 1870s, for example, the Semarang to Yogyakarta route via Surakarta was operated. The city is becoming more and more filled with government officials, investors, and tourists[1]. The economy of the Mataram region, which is centered in Yogyakarta, is growing.

The Mataram newspaper was published regularly every day since 1903[2] and died in 1942, along with the entry of Japan and the fall of the Netherlands. This newspaper was printed by H. Buning who was also the main character of other early newspapers in Yogyakarta, such as Darmowarsito and Retnodoemilah. The name Mataram refers to the area of its circulation. The publication of Mataram was also related to the increasing number of Europeans in the interior of Vorstenlanden, aka the Surakarta and Yogyakarta areas.

The Mataram newspaper cannot be separated from the name of the prominent journalist Halkema who is the editor-in-chief of the Dutch-speaking Mataram. Actually there is a well-known name Halkema, but in the affairs of the Mataram newspaper, W. Halkema is involved, namely the oldest Halkema. He was born around 1830 or earlier, because by 1850 he was already in charge of a priyayi school in Banyumas. He worked as a resident assistant in Sambas before starting his career as a journalist. In 1879, he became editor of a Javanese language daily, Darmowarsito, in Yogyakarta. In late 1883 to 1885, he joined Bintang Timor as editor. Until the end of his life he continued to fill his time by writing, including for newspapers. W. Halkema is a polyglot, he claims to be able to teach English, French, and German, besides being able to speak Dutch, Malay, and Javanese.


[1] In 1865, for example, the first inn was opened in Yogyakarta and then the Mataram Hotel was opened in 1869.

[2] That's their regular publication. However, after tracing the traces of this newspaper, it turned out that its first publication was on January 15, 1877. Further research on the traces of the discovery of the first publication on January 15, 1877 with regular publications in 1903.