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Times and northern advertiser
Title : Times and northern advertiser Times and northern advertiser
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Source : Times and northern advertiser, 10 October 1919, p. 1
Date of creation : 1919
Format : Newspaper
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :
The Petersburgtimes, as it was originally titled, was begun in 1887 specifically to counter attempts to have the Great Northern Railway diverted away from Petersburg (Peterborough) and Port Pirie, through Terowie. For three years the Terowie enterprise had been promoting the alternative route. In response, the mayor of Petersburg, William Threadgold, visited Robert Osborne in Adelaide, and persuaded him to begin a newspaper in the town. Osborne had been apprenticed in the newspaper trade in England, and spent a year working in New York before coming to South Australia in 1884. He worked at the Port Augusta dispatch, and then established the short-lived goldfields newspaper, the Teetulpa news. Eventually Osborne widened his holdings, establishing the Quorn mercury and the Jamestownstar newspapers. In 1908 he sold his three northern newspapers to his Peterborough printer, Bill Bennett.

Content Osborne and Bennett gave much space to local Roman Catholic news in the early decades of the Petersburgtimes as well as local Baptist church news. Even the sermons of the local Wesleyan minister were printed in early issues. The Catholic bishops of Port Augusta were regular visitors to Peterborough and frequently pictured in the newspaper. Often articles were reprinted from the Catholic newspaper, Southern cross. The first reporter at the Times was Hal Colebatch, who later became premier of Western Australia.

As in other newspapers owned by them, Osborne and Bennett freely used syndicated material. Both the Petersburgtimes and the Quorn mercury used syndicated sheets in the 19th century for their two centre pages, confining local news, advertisements and editorials to page one and page four. The Adelaide correspondent to the MountBarkercourier berated the 'bad example' set by Osborne in his newspapers, of 'importing its bowels from another colony' (Mount Barker courier, 11 March 1898, p. 2). However, Osborne's newspapers also gave much space to obituaries and biographical articles about local people.

From 1910 there emerged more chatty social articles, with long descriptions of local weddings as a feature. This style of reporting continued until the newspaper closed. Also from around 1910 the Times included an increasing number of articles and advertisements relating directly to agriculture, particularly in relation to mechanisation and increasing government regulation. Both World Wars resulted in a strong focus on the conflict and on local involvement. At the end of the First World War the government ruled that German-sounding 'Petersburg' must become 'Peterborough' and subsequently in 1919 the newspaper became The Times and northern advertiser, but stated that the decision had been forced by 'fanatics' (9 May 1919, p. 2). Interestingly the town was largely against conscription (13 October 1916, p. 3). Local man B.A. Clarke, the editor of the Orroroo enterprise, wrote prolifically of his war experiences for the newspaper, including many political comments in his articles.

Sporting coverage In 1898 at the height of the bicycle craze, the Times printed a regular 'Cycling news' column. Football came to be a particular feature, reaching a peak in the years before the First World War. On 7 September 1912 a special Saturday 'Sporting edition' was printed, giving the results of that day's games. This was possibly in response to plans by the local shoemaker, Fred Frith, to publish his advertising/sporting newspaper, which appeared briefly in 1913. From 1919 a 'Times Medal' was created, awarded annually to the most popular local footballer. Both World Wars saw local sports diminish as many local people were involved in war service, but with a strong resurgence when the wars finished.

Photographs Photographs began appearing in the pages of the Petersburgtimes in 1896, when portraits of local parliamentary candidates were inserted. From this time photographs of local individuals appeared intermittently. In November 1901 a collision between two trains at Walloway, which resulted in the death of two men, was given a whole page article including photographs of the victims, those who assisted, and of the crash scene (29 November 1901, p. 3). There were no photographs printed after 1902, but these began to re-appear in 1910. From late 1923 photographs became a regular feature, but by 1929 local scenes and people were largely dropped in favour of photographs of film stars - a trend which continued until the newspaper's demise.

Lithographic supplement The Times was one of a handful of South Australian country newspapers which commissioned a coloured lithographic supplement in 1893, by F.W. Niven. The very attractive double-page spread includes a 'bird's eye view' of Petersburg, as well as cameos of individual businesses and scenes.

Cartoons For a brief time between 1922 and 1923 Jack Ham, the local draper, regularly contributed caricatures and cartoons to the Times. These were frequently of local footballers, but also included Mayor Lowther Clarke (25 August 1922, p. 1) - who was killed in a car accident a month later. Most of the cartoons were re-printed in the Orroroo enterprise which by this time was also owned by Osborne's successor, Bill Bennett.

Geographical coverage Up until the early years of the 20th century, the Petersburgtimes included news items from more than 70 towns and localities. However, by the late 1920s coverage was concentrated on the towns of Peterborough, Terowie, Nackara, Dawson, Yunta, Yongala, Quorn and Orroroo.

Ownership Following the sale by Robert Osborne of his original three newspapers (Petersburgtimes, Quorn mercury and Jamestownstar) to Bill Bennett who had worked in the Peterborough office since 1894. Bennett expanded the business, establishing the Booleroo magnet, and taking over the Orroroo enterprise in 1928. Osborne had moved to Adelaide some years before this, where he continued to run various newspapers. Following Bennett's death in 1939, sons Jack and Harry ran the Times and the Orroroo enterprise. The Bennett family continued to run the Times until 1970, when, with the Northern review and Orroroo enterprise, it was taken over by the Transcontinental. The three newspapers were combined to become the short-lived Review-times.

Related names :

Bennett, Harry S.

Bennett, Jack S.

Bennett, William Henry, d. 1939

Clarke, B.A.

Clarke, Cyril Lowther, d. 1922

Colebatch, Hal, Sir, 1872-1953

Frith, Frederick Henry

Hann, Jack

Osborne, Robert Martin, d. 1931

Threadgold, William

Frith's bulletin (Petersburg, S. Aust.)

Great Northern Railway (Australia)

Jamestown star (Jamestown, S. Aust.)

Mount Barker courier (Mount Barker, S. Aust.)

Port Augusta dispatch (Port Augusta, S. Aust.)

Quorn mercury (Quorn, S. Aust.)

Southern cross (Adelaide, S. Aust.)

Teetulpa news (Teetulpa, S. Aust.)

Terowie enterprise (Terowie, S. Aust.)

Coverage year : 1911
Place : Peterborough (S. Aust.)
Region : Mid North
Further reading :

Osborne, R.M. 'Our birthday: a retrospective 1887-1917,' Petersburg times, 10 August 1917, p. 4

'Passing of two old friends,' Times and northern advertiser, 26 March 1970, p. 1

'Peterborough loses Mr WH Bennett,' Times and northern advertiser, 2 June 1939, p. 3

'Robert M. Osborne,' Times and northern advertiser, 2 October 1931, p. 3

Woods, Anita, Petersburg to Peterborough: a journey from 1875 to 1986, Peterborough, S. Aust.: Peterborough and Local Districts History Club, 1986



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