Published Day: Wednesday
Circulation (Paid): 3814
Cover Price: $1.50 GST Inc.
Address: 181 Main North Road, Clare
Postal Address: PO Box 234, Clare, SA 5453
Phone Number: (08) 8842 2652
Fax Number: (08) 8842 2267
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The Northern Argus serves the Lower and Mid North area of South Australia, with major towns being Balaklava, Burra, Clare, Jamestown, Peterborough and Riverton, which is famous for its ﬁrst class wines (Clare Valley), its stud sheep, and is a highly regarded tourist destination. Industries include: wineries, vineyards, wheat, barley, lucerne seed, wool, sheep, cattle, stud sheep and cattle, fat lambs and pigs.
THE NORTHERN ARGUS made news with its first edition on February 19, 1869, and co-founder Henry Hammond Tilbrook wrote in his first editorial: “We come forward with no flourish of trumpets, we put forth no high-sounding policy; our aim will be to ‘be just and fear not’ and our convictions we shall maintain with independence of spirit and outspoken candour.”
The development of The Northern Argus was slow but sure, from the early days of hand-set type until today with the use of state-of-the-art of computer technology. From the foundation of the paper, type was set by hand into “sticks”, which were handled again after use and “dissed” back into cases for storage until the next time.
Frock-coated gentlemen painstakingly went about their work in silence, by the light of flickering candles and carbide lamps, making sure the important news of the day could be transformed into print and sold to the community.
From its original site in a shed in Clare’s Victoria Road, the Argus moved to 245 Main North Road in the centre of the town, on the corner of Ness Street, where it stayed for 135 years. A site was also occupied in the Eudunda Farmers building (now IGA supermarket) from 1927 to 1932 where the linotype was set and carried across the street.
Meanwhile, Henry continued to make his mark as a newspaperman, reporting on issues of the day, including news from Europe. Following his retirement a succession of his descendants took over the reins.
As the district grew, so too did The Northern Argus. The paper, originally printed on a hand-press, was now being produced on an old sheet-fed Wharfdale printing press, driven by a gasoline engine.
In 1927, a mechanical revolution took place. A wonder machine - a Model 5 Mergenthaler Linotype – was installed for mechanical composition of body type, which meant a great saving in time and labour. In 1953, it was joined by a Model 48 Linotype, capable of setting eight individual type faces and various body sizes and lengths of line, without the operator getting up from the machine.
With this new development the “job” printing department grew from two, foot operated, hand-fed platens (rollers), to an automatic platen known as a Heidelberg, which was capable of turning out 5000 sheets of printed paper per hour, as well as having the capability of producing colour work.
During these years, the circulation of the paper grew and there came a time when the printing of four pages at a time on
a sheet fed press, followed by hand folding, became far too slow. A monster machine, weighing 22 tons, capable of printing 16 pages at a time was purchased from The Murray Pioneer in 1961.
After a time the printing was outsourced and for several years, but local printing recurred early in the 1990s when the paper was printed weekly on a Goss Community Webb Offset Press.
The Argus office also printed two other papers, the Port Broughton Echo from 1887 to 1888 and the Blyth Agriculturalist, which was published in 1908 and ran for more than 60 years.
With a succession of Tilbrooks at the helm, The Northern Argus successfully continued to reflect the news of the day for its base-town Clare and the Mid North Region.
In 1996, the newspaper was purchased from the Tilbrook family by Rural Press Ltd, and on April 1, 2005, made its first physical move for 135 years, to new, purpose-built premises about 250 metres south from its old offices.
The paper has won several awards including the best newspaper (under 5000 circulation) at the Country Press Association of SA Inc. awards in 2003.