Business

The evolution of the White Pages

FROM the days when dripping manufacturers advertised to the introduction of new listings for clairvoyance and day spas, the White Pages and Yellow Pages books used in Gympie since the 1950s have changed a lot over the years, revealing how the region has evolved.

The evolution of the book continues this month when distribution of the new compact-size Gympie White Pages and Yellow Pages book starts.

As well as the format change, Yellow Pages content in the book has been customised to the area to make it more relevant and easier to find a business.

Known as the North Coast and Esk Districts phone book in its early days, the Gympie book has changed dramatically over the years.

In 1952, an advertisement for Thomas Brown and Sons Ltd - Merchants, Manufacturers and Distillers appeared on the cover and the book consisted of 85 pages of residential listings and 17 advertising pages, which were known as the Pink Pages.

Furriers, tanners and artificial eye manufacturers were listed in the 1952 Gympie phone directory, only to be taken out a few years later. In 1978, today's lingerie stores were advertised under "foundation garments", while our podiatrists were known as chiropodists back then.

Early phone books in Australia included listings for asbestos manufacturers and mulesing consultants, but these are two categories that no longer exist.

Today, there is more health and beauty, green and IT-related industries featured.

Current copies of the book include categories such as pilates, asbestos removal, jet propelled skis and personal fitness trainers' businesses - back in 1972 these advertising categories hadn't been created.

Since 1992, the number of listings in the book under "retirement villages" has more than doubled from 26 to 65, reflecting the aging population.

In the same time the number of solar energy listings has increased from 30 to 76.

Residents' needs have also changed, with most preferring to use a book that is not as big and is easier to handle.

This has been the biggest criticism of the book, which is why the decision has been made to standardise the format of every phone book and reduce the height and width by 15%.

The new format aims to meet users' changing needs while ensuring the book contains the same comprehensive content that everyone can rely on.

There's also a number of design improvements that have been added to make it easier to search for local people or business and government information.

The visually impaired also can access the telephone directory. These services are outlined in the White Pages' Accessibility Guide, which is available by emailing wpcom munity@sensis.com.au.

CHANGES

How times have changed:

Headings of yesteryear: Artificial eye manufacturers, corset manufacturers, dripping manufacturers, furriers and tanners, wine saloons

Headings of today: Clairvoyance, day spas, jet propelled skis, personal fitness trainers, pilates

Topics:  communication gympie white pages yellow pages

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