Rural Australian newspaper, The Weekly Times, is celebrating 150 years of continuous publication with Wednesday’s anniversary being marked with a special edition of the newspaper featuring a 20 page wrap and reproduction of the original September 11, 1869 edition.
The Weekly Times has long-held the position of Australia’s most widely read rural newspaper, with a print readership of 126,000 and total reach of 699,000, confirming its status as Australia’s best read and most trusted source of regional and rural news.
Victorian copies of the newspaper are printed at News Corp’s Westgate printing facility while interstate copies printed in Sydney at Chullora.
The newspaper, known as the “Bible of the Bush”, has been there in good times and bad – covering drought and bushfires, bumper crops and the welcome relief of rain. It’s reported on the characters and personalities that makes our bush and regions unique.
Over the decades Australia’s largest rural newspaper brand has gone from strength to strength, launching a new, 40-page magazine, AgJournal, in May this year to tap into the $60 billion agriculture and food fibre industry.
Editor Ed Gannon said The Weekly Times’ longevity was due to its ability to adapt and find new ways to put readers and their communities first.
“This is a 150-year old institution first published the same year as War and Peace with a life spanning three separate centuries,” Gannon said.
“It’s now well positioned for new successes having successfully adapted to the digital era by becoming a dependable and trusted digital companion for those who work on the land and who live in regional and rural Australia.
“In recent years we’ve launched special awards in partnership with our corporate partners such as the Shine awards with Harvey Norman, celebrating rural women.
“And together with Coles we run the Farmer of the Year awards across all of our channels to celebrate the diversity and ingenuity of contemporary Australian farming.”
The Weekly Times in print and online theweeklytimes.com.au combine award-winning magazines – AgJournal, Farm, Crop Gear and Education, as well as comprehensive footy and sport sections, the vibrant Country Living liftout, commodity and on-farm sections, weekly property, machine guides, bumper field-day features and other lifestyle pages.
Wednesday’s edition will include a 20-page wrap and a reproduction of the first, 1869 edition, including an explanation of the stories behind these original stories.
Also marking the milestone is a 30-minute documentary Memories & Milestones: 150 years of The Weekly Times, featuring interviews with former and current editors and reporters. It premieres on Foxtel’s History Channel on Sunday, September 15 at 7.30pm.
Mr Gannon said: “The 30-minute documentary celebrates and captures the milestone moments in Australia’s rural history, from Ned Kelly’s last stand to Don Bradman’s standing ovation; from the highs of the Gold Rush to the lows of the Great Depression; from the devastation of drought, flood and fire to the rural renaissance that has seen agribusiness and farming flourish into the 21st Century.
“It will showcase how the paper with the iconic orange cover became – and remains – a window to the world for those in rural and regional Australia, especially those in far flung and isolated communities.”
Herald & Weekly Times chairman Penny Fowler said the paper was an essential part of the fabric of regional and rural Australia.
“Every week for 150 years, generations of farmers and rural dwellers have looked forward to the delivery of their paper, poring over its pages, soaking up the latest general and agribusiness news, practical farm advice and entertaining stories of rural life,” Mrs Fowler said.
“The story of The Weekly Times is the story of our country community and as a company we are extremely proud to be celebrating its 150th year.”
Her Excellency, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, and 150 guests will salute the paper’s success at a celebratory event in Melbourne this Wednesday.
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