Local news from manual to digital

Dave Fowler was the founder and proprietor of the Walcha News with the paper’s first edition on Saturday 8th October 1904; a copy signed by Mr. Fowler is still in existence today.
Nanjing Night Net

Early in 1928 Fowler purchased the Walcha Witness newspaper from his former employer, Frank Townshend, and moved to the Witness printery at 13-15w Fitzroy Street. Two fires at this printery, one in August 1928 and the other in December 1932, demolished the premises and also destroyed all stored copies of the Witness from 1906 onwards and of the News from 1907 until 1933.

After the second fire Dave Fowler built a new printery at 34w Fitzroy Street. He did not miss a single issue of his paper between the day of the fire and the opening of the new premises, having arranged for the Armidale Express to produce it for three months whilst the building was constructed and replacement printing equipment installed.

E.L. (Blue) Hogan OAM (1916-2004)was 10 years old when he found an after-school job at the Walcha News delivering the paper to local subscribers. After leaving school at 12 years of age he worked as a drover, shop assistant, station hand and rabbit trapper until in 1932, when 16 years old, he commenced an apprenticeship at the Walcha News.

He joined the Australian Infantry Forces in 1941 and returned to the News on his discharge from the armed services in 1945. He became Managing Editor of the paper in December 1953 and purchased the business soon after Fowler’s death in 1955.

Blue wrote about the early printing equipment saying, ‘The old presses were turned manually, which was a back-breaking job. The pages were set up by hand composition until 1930 when a linotype machine was introduced. With today’s technology, papers are printed at rate of 14,000 per hour, whereas it took six hours to print a twelve-page paper (four pages at a time) which had a paid circulation of 1,475 in 1975.’

Poor health caused Blue to sell the business toJohn Mansfield and William Williamson in 1977.

Bluewas recognised by Walcha Council in 1977 when the Walcha Council forhis 45 years of ‘unflagging efforts to promote the Walcha district’ and the concern he had ‘always shown for the welfare of the community’.

Derby Street under water. The record flood of Friday, January 12 in 1962 was probably the biggest story to run in the Walcha News during Blue’s time at the helm.

Former long serving Walcha News editor E.L. (Blue) Hogan OAM – 1916-2004, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia On Australia Day 1983

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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