Published Day: Wednesday
Circulation (Paid): 13300
Cover Price: FREE
Address: 10 Mary Elie Street, Port Pirie
Postal Address: Box 435, Port Pirie, SA 5540
Phone Number: (08) 8633 9999
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The "Flinders News" is distributed throughout the highly productive mid north region of South Australia (ie. Crystal Brook, Gladstone, Laura, Wirrabara, Melrose, Jamestown, Peterborough, Orroroo etc.), northern Yorke Peninsula (ie. Port Broughton, Kadina, Moonta, Wallaroo etc.), far north (ie. Wilmington, Quorn, Hawker etc.), in the cities of Port Pirie and Port Augusta, as well as being letterbox dropped via Australia Post throughout the Clare and Gilbert Valleys.
This area has a solid agricultural base that includes livestock, cropping, vineyards and forestry. The sheep breeding industry has declared Burra the Merino Capital of the World and it is recognised world-wide. The agricultural sector is complimented by a strong industrial presence in Port Pirie and Port Augusta.
THOUSANDS of names and events have poured through the pages of The Flinders News in the past 43 years. In this time the communities of Port Pirie, Port Augusta and the Mid-North have flourished - and they are still proud to pick up the paper every Wednesday.
Covering a vast agricultural area, a large number of the readers have a keen interest in farming.
Between all the farming highlights, residents in the Mid-North have witnessed some sad events in their community.
One of the most notorious crimes in Australia’s history, the “bodies in the barrel” left Snowtown residents shaken in May, 1999 when dead bodies were stored in an old bank building in the town.
Then in 2006, an explosion killed three people at a Gladstone explosives factory.
But in all the tales of glory and sadness, The Flinders News has proudly supported the region.
Today, the publication is circulated by Fairfax Media, the biggest Australian-owned media company. But it began on September 18, 1968, in the hands of an enterprising team at the small printing firm of Automatic Print in Port Pirie. Ray Naulty, Eric May and John Doney decided to print the newspaper in the “downtime” that resulted after the yearly rush to print school text books on their presses.
Mr Naulty’s son Peter, now of Adelaide, was aged about 12 at the time and recalls the ground-breaking idea of having a free newspaper. “Free newspapers were a relatively new concept in Australia. I think they originated in England,” he said.
“It was done with flat-bed printing and the blokes worked around the clock to get it out.
“The grocery store Jack the Slasher had expanded to Port Pirie and we had four and eight-page inserts in spot color and then yellow paper. “The newspaper circulated in Port Pirie and Port Augusta and across to Orroroo, Peterborough and Gladstone and, in recent years, Clare.
“The Clare council once wrote to us saying we were littering the streets with newspapers so Dad and I went down and delivered the newspapers personally in the ute.
“We used to have different front-page stories for Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Clare and over the ranges. The circulation was about 20,000.
“We were one of the first newspapers that started running four-color and we had a color picture on the front page.” He recalled then mayor, the late Bill Jones, who also wore “hats” at the ABC and the smelters, was the editor of the newspaper and wrote many reports. Other material was supplied by contributors.
Mr Jones also contributed to the country pages of The Advertiser for many years and the Radio 5AD news service where he gave regular voice reports on issues in the Mid North.
The Flinders News was sold to the Willson family, owner of The Recorder, in March, 1982, and in 1991 it was bought by Fairfax Media.
The cadet reporter involved in the newspaper war, Greg Mayfield, is now manager of The Flinders News.
“As a family we will always be reasonably proud of The Flinders News,” Peter Naulty said. “I guess it has a different strategic place because it fits in a pool of papers.
In those days it was head-to-head with the competition.”