Published Day: Wednesday
Circulation (Paid): 1000
Cover Price: $1.10 GST Inc.
Address: 29 Church Street, Penola
Postal Address: Box 309, Mount Gambier SA 5290
Phone Number: (08) 8724 1555
Fax Number: (08) 8724 1551
Email Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Editorial: email@example.com
The Pennant, Penola, is the major newspaper circulating in the Penola area which covers the renowned wine growing area of the Coonawarra.
Penola sits in a heavily rural belt, which is both livestock and agriculture, while significant historical sites in the town now attract thousands of tourists annually.
The story of The Pennant began with publication of the first edition of Penola's newspaper on July 25, 1946.
After lack of communication from Mount Gambier and Naracoorte was evident, Mr W. Erwin Thiele saw the opening to start a newspaper to service the town and local areas. The first edition carried a lead on plans to upgrade Penola’s Memorial Hospital, with the heading “Proposed New Building To Be Modern and Well Appointed.”
Unlike a lot of papers which carried a Page 1 editorial or message for readers in their first edition, The Pennant delivered a low-key message on Page 4 under the heading: “Our First Issue.”
The message said: “This copy of ‘The Pennant’ comes to you with the compliments of the Editor. You will notice the spread of district news – all the matters in which you are naturally interested.
“The subscription is only 12/- a year, posted to any address in Australia…And you feel you have the news, the markets and all announcements of importance when ‘The Pennant’ is coming to you each week.
"It is people like you we want on our list, and apart from the regular news, there are many items that mean big savings the bargain obtained through the columns of little Cash Advertisements; or the fine avoided by your being reminded that some licence is due for renewal.
“You receive more than a news service with your ‘Pennant.’”
Mr Thiele’s message to readers continued with a strong push for locals to subscribe. “Assure yourself that this journal will reach you regularly, by ordering your copy now – direct from this office or through your local newsagent,” it said.
“Every endeavour has been made to ensure a copy entering every home in Penola and district but if, inadvertently someone has been omitted, we would be glad to supply a copy on their advice.”
Mr Thiele’s message concluded: “We regret the delayed appearance of this issue but thank those who assisted us in helping to overcome some of the unexpected troubles which are probably incidental to a debut of this description.”
It was as important then as it is now that newspaper editors have the freedom and courage to write about local matters. New Zealander Kenneth Victor Dohnt, who took over the paper in 1950 and rain it until his death in 1971, was one such editor.
Mr. Dohnt played an important role as owner and editor - being critical when necessary, as well as giving praise, to the district council. He was known locally as a man who worked tirelessly for the Penola Golf Club and generally was a person who became involved in community affairs.
Long-time employee and local Lyle Shurdington took over the paper in 1971, ahead of selling it to South East Telecasters, publishers of Mount Gambier's The Border Watch, in October, 1978.
Local businessman, Allan Scott AO, was a major shareholder in South East Telecasters.
Today, under manager, Tim Lewis, and editor, Jason Wallace, staff of the Border Watch deliver The Pennant to the Penola and district community and an advertising and editorial office is maintained in the town. maintained in the town. The paper, owned by the Scott Group of Companies, circulates through the Penola district, Kalangadoo, Nangwarry, Coonawarra, Comaum, Monbulla and Maaoupe.
Over recent years, Penola and the neighbouring wine region of Coonawarra has continued to generate significant stories, from the celebrations of the canonisation of Mary MacKillop just weeks after a tornado ripped through the town, through to ongoing successes for the wine industry as the area's reputation grows internationally as a prime producer of cabernet sauvignon and other varieties.