Community / A piece of media history gets the chop


Newscorp announced today over 100 regional and community mastheads under its publishing businesses will either move to full digital broadcast, merge or become sections of larger publications, effectively ceasing printed rural content in small Australian communities.

Local weekly newspaper, Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette will cease to be a printed publication, and news from the Douglas Shire will appear in the regional section of The Cairns Post beside content from the Tablelands.

The Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette dates back to approximately 1879, when the publication was released weekly as the Port Douglas Gazette, rebranding to The Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette in 1896.

David Thomas, Sue Wilkie and Ashley and Sue Halliday took over what was “The Douglas Developer”, a publication printed by the Douglas Chamber of Commerce which operated out of what is now Cairns Hardware in Mossman. Ashley changed the name back to “The Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette”, in a tribute to his grandfather, who had started the original Gazette back in the late 1800s.

The Gazette’s early rival, “The Port Douglas Times”, had a short-lived publication run of nine months during 1878 and was revived as first “The Times”, then “Port Douglas Times” and finally “The Northern Eagle” over ten years throughout the 1890s. The existence of another weekly, “The Port Douglas and Mossman Record”, has been noted around 1901.

In 1986, The Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette was purchased from the Hallidays by Jane King and two silent partners. It operated as an independent, locally published newspaper up until the late 1990s.

Jane’s partner at the time, Mike Berwick, ceased involvement in the paper in 1991 when he ran for the Mayoralty of the Douglas Shire.

Unhappy with the Gazette’s portrayal of Council operations during Jane King’s tenure, the Douglas Shire Council Publishing Officer started “The Douglas Times” in competition with the Gazette, enabling them to report Council news in a more favourable light.
Unable to compete with the independent nature of the Gazette and despite offering lower advertising rates, “The Douglas Times” was sold to Rupert Murdoch.
He subsequently purchased the Gazette from Jane King, who had been involved in “The Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette” for fourteen years.

Changes are expected to come into effect from 29 June 2020.

Special thanks to Jane King for the history lesson this afternoon – her stories were so interesting to hear, and her time at the Gazette sounded like a whole lot of fun!


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