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Bridge Observer
Title : Bridge Observer Bridge Observer
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Source : Bridge Observer, 13 January 1972, p. 1
Date of creation : 1972
Format : Newspaper
Catalogue record
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Description :

The Bridge Observer was a free community newspaper published at Murray Bridge during the 1970s as an alternative to the older Murray Valley Standard. The newspaper was published by a group of local businessmen in an association named Bridge Investments, under chairman Cyril Harris. Businessman John Potts was an enthusiastic supporter of the venture. The newspaper was published at the time of the Monarto satellite city proposal, as well as other controversial developments including the construction of the Murray Bridge Bunyip, and the beginning of the Swanport Bridge project.

Diedre Nelson was an early editor, followed in 1972 by Mike Dale - formerly of the Lithgow Mercury. (Dale later joined the Murray Valley Standard.) He was followed by Mike Whitesman. Alex Greig was an early reporter. Potts became manager of the newspaper from September 1972. Photographs were a feature of the Bridge Observer. Eve Hirschausen was a highly respected local field photographer and was initially the principle photographic contributor. The newspaper aimed to 'promote the district, foster local business and support local organisations' (19 August 1971, p.1). It also intended 'to bring housewives full details of shopping bargains' and therefore published many advertisements for local businesses. Circulation began at 6,200 copies, and increased to 9,000.

The Observer included the usual country news items - reports of local council meetings, social columns, sporting results and articles relating to agriculture. It reported fully and frequently on the many local organisations and clubs existing in and around Murray Bridge. These included Lions and Rotary clubs, the Women's Agricultural Bureau and Country Women's Association, scouts, girl guides and rangers, the Murray Bridge Floral Society, the Young Liberals and the very active Army Reserves. The 'Wardle report' column reported on the doings of local MP, Ivon Wardle.

The newspaper was successful enough to prompt the Murray Valley Standard to publish twice weekly in 1973. The front page of the issue of 7 October 1971 contained photographs of the manager of the Murray Valley Standard, Mike Hambidge, taking a copy of the Bridge Observer from the car boot of the manager of the latter title, and running away - suggesting there was strong rivalry between the two newspapers.

When the Murray Valley Standard dropped its Tuesday edition, the Bridge Observer became a de-facto Tuesday Standard. The Bridge Observer ceased in September 1976, due to 'steeply increased production costs.' Some years later, in 1983, Potts re-issued the newspaper under the old title, which in 1984 became the short-lived Bridge Mercury.

Subjects
Related names :

Dale, Mike

Greig, Alex

Hambidge, Mike

Harris, Cyril

Hirschausen, Eve

Nelson, Diedre

Potts, John

Wardle, Ivon

Whitesman, Mike

Bridge Investments Pty Ltd

Bridge mercury (Murray Bridge, S. Aust.)

Bridge Print

Mannum mercury (Mannum, S. Aust.)

Mercury (Lithgow, N.S.W.)

Messenger Press

Murray Bridge Floral Society

Murray Valley standard (Murray Bridge, S. Aust.)

Swanport Bridge (Swanport, S. Aust.)

Coverage year : 1972
Place : Murray Bridge (S. Aust.)
Region : Riverland and Murraylands
Further reading :
McLaren, Harold. The Murray Valley standard and other Murray Bridge newspapers, [Murray Bridge, S. Aust.: Harold McLaren], 2004

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