AS WE count down to the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, The Gympie Times is gearing up to celebrate 150 years of news coverage in the Gympie region.
Just a few short months after the first flash of gold in James Nash's pan, H. Parkinson, F. Kidner and J.B. Solomon (of Kidner and Co) made their way to the shanty town of Nashville to set up a newspaper.
To do so they had to haul an incredibly heavy ex-Queensland Times press and type over the Conondale Range by horse teams from Ipswich to the goldfield soon to be named Gympie.
After making that difficult journey, and as the first edition of the Nashville Times and Mary River Mining Gazette rolled off the press on February 15, 1868, the waters of the flooded Mary River swirled around its legs - the first of many Mary River floods the newspaper would cover over the next 150 years.
In that first year, the paper underwent several name changes: The Nashville Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, The Nashville Times-Gympie and Mary River Mining Gazette (June 14, 1868), Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette (October 17, 1868), and finally, The Gympie Times.
It is Gympie's oldest surviving business and has outlasted several rival newspapers, including the Gympie Truth, launched in 1896 by Andrew Fisher, who would go on to become Australia's first Labor Prime Minister.
The Truth published three times a week until it folded in May, 1942, leaving The Gympie Times the region's sole newspaper, reporting the news, recording history, celebrating the region's victories and holding to account its leaders.
First published on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the paper changed to a tri-weekly a few years after its birth and in 1982, began publishing five days week, introducing full colour in 2006.
Printing was taken off-site in 1984, to the new printery at the Gympie Industrial Estate, and then to Yandina. In 2013, the offices moved from Mary St to the old Gympie ambulance station in Nash St.
Moving forward, The Gympie Times has already established a strong and rapidly growing digital audience and performs at the top of the (new owners) New Corp regional daily newspapers, both in print and online.
To celebrate our 150th birthday next year The Gympie Times is planning 12 months of celebrations, special publications and keepsake collector's items.
On February 15, the actual date of The Gympie Times first edition back in 1868, we will travel back in time and produce a black and white, broadsheet collector's edition with the historic Gympie Times masthead on the front, and all the news of that day inside.
Also launching on February 15, will be the GT150 bronze coin giveaway, and a one-off, birthday subscription offer which will include two limited edition Gympie Times coffee cups and the GT150 coin.
The G150 coin giveaway we had this year was immensely successful, with coins running out the door so fast some people missed out.
These exciting promotions are just the start of an incredible year for your local daily newspaper and you, our readers. Stay tuned as we progressively unveil the rest of our amazing plans for 2018.