BEGINNNINGS: The Chinchilla News in 1915. Left to right: W.O. Brie, Sydney Blanchard, D. Hoare, O. Mackay (later Mrs Frank Mann).
BEGINNNINGS: The Chinchilla News in 1915. Left to right: W.O. Brie, Sydney Blanchard, D. Hoare, O. Mackay (later Mrs Frank Mann). Chinchilla Shire Library - local

Chinchilla News celebrates 110 years of publishing

ONE hundred and ten years ago today, the first edition of Chinchilla News was released, "just in time for the Christmas 'rush' of advertising”, according to Footsteps Through Time by Dr Tony Matthews Ph.D. Chinchilla News and Murilla Advertiser was first released on December 14, 1907 by owner and founder John Hay Braddock.

The first edition comprised eight pages and the newspaper was sold for four pence per copy. Thomas Birkett purchased the business from Mr Braddock in 1909.

Mr Birkett was described as being a competent individual, who over the years became deeply involved in community affairs, reporting on rural life that according to Footsteps Through Time, "today are reports that form one of the most vital and colourful elements we have of the history of those times and the people who then lived in the area.”

He laid the foundations for family control of the newspaper that lasted 78 years and management that lasted 90 years. Mr Birkett's grandsons Frank and Harvey Fuller became owners of the newspaper business in 1943 and ran the newspaper until 1979. Aware of the need to change printing technology, the brothers sold the business to Frank's son and daughter-in-law, David and Dorothy Fuller.

The printing processes changed as the newspaper was printed offset on the presses of Toowoomba's Chronicle from February 21 1980, however typesetting and pasting up were done in Chinchilla.

David and Dorothy sold the business to Provincial Newspaper Qld in 1987 but remained managers of the newspaper until March 1999.

No history of Chinchilla News could be completed without journalist Eric Platz, whose record of service on the newspaper stretched over 52 years, until his retirement in 1996.

Mr Platz was honoured with honorary membership of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance in recognition of his long commitment to provincial journalism and membership of the Australian Journalists'Association.

In an article published in Chinchilla News in 2007, Mr Platz said he saw many changes in newspaper production during his long association with Chinchilla News, especially with newspapers having undergone great technological changes.

"The introduction of computers and modern printing processes have streamlined production, making work today much easier than it was in the days of hot metal and linotypes and hand-fed flatbed printing presses.”

David Richardson became general manager of Chinchilla News in 1999. Mr Richardson said what changed the most was the quality and production of the newspaper over the years. "We started in the early 90s going to colour with front pages but it wasn't until the late 90s that the newspaper was printed in full colour,” he said.

Mr Richardson said it was great to work with a lot of good people that took pride in the Chinchilla newspaper and their work. "Good local people that were skilled in their writing and had a real interest in the business. "I wish Chinchilla News another 110 years.”

Current Surat Basin general manager Erika Brayshaw said it was amazing to see the progression of the newspaper over the past 110 years and how much not only publishing has changed but the communities.

"It is exciting to see a local business still thriving after 110 years,” she said.

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