‘It was a dramatic day that ended with a tale of survival’
WE USED to call the company car the Golden Holden but there was nothing golden about it.
It was more poo brown in colour and would often overheat at the most inconvenient of times.
But on this particular day in July 1988, we were hurtling down the Bruce Highway to Gympie without a care in the world.
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I was a young university student on work experience. Behind the wheel was journalist Nathan Vass - just a few years older, but seemingly decades ahead of me in life experience.
We’d been to the Kilkivan Shire Council meeting for the day when suddenly his pager went off.
It was the editor telling us to change plans and head to a nearby property where there’d been a drowning. A rescue chopper was on its way.
It was a dramatic day and thankfully ended with a tale of survival.
If this was journalism, I was hooked.
I started work at the paper just days later, quickly understanding how important it was to the community.
There was the weekly ‘What’s On’ column and the ladies’ bowls report.
Readers would hand deliver their letters to the editor, the crankier they were, the harder their shoes would hit the steps into the newsroom.
Sometimes a warning call would come from the advertising department downstairs that so-and-so was on the warpath with a two-page diatribe.
We started enforcing a rule that we would accept typed letters only and to the shock of the authors, rejected the hand scrawled versions.
Change happens. And not everyone’s happy.
Now there’s another, far more significant change, one that’s been repeated across Australia.
The Gympie Times has been part of the region for so long that it’s hard to imagine a newsagent not selling it, a front lawn not welcoming it, a reader not sitting in the warm winter sun turning its pages.
My hope, as we farewell the printed version of this paper, is that voices will still be heard and the community will still feel it has a place within its (online) pages.