Published Day: Wednesday
Circulation (Paid): 3295
Cover Price: $1.50 GST Inc.
Address: 6 Tassie Street, Port Augusta
Postal Address: Box 64, Port Augusta SA 5700
Phone Number: (08) 8642 2688
Fax Number: (08) 8642 6710
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Port Augusta is situated at the head of Spencer Gulf, the “Crossroads of Australia”.
The award-winning foreshore redevelopment is the pride of the city. Port Augusta is home to three of the Royal Flying Doctor fleet of aircraft, the Wadlata Outback Tourist Centre, the Arid Lands Botanic Garden and the NRG Flinders power station. Port Augusta is a popular base for visiting the Flinders Ranges and the Pichi Richi Steam Railway in Quorn. Roxby Downs is a two-and-a-half hour drive north of Port Augusta.
The Transcontinental has serviced the growing population of Port Augusta for 130 years and enjoys a strong penetration into local homes plus Quorn and other Flinders Ranges towns.
THE TRANSCONTINENTAL owed its beginning to Mr and Mrs Reg Barclay who printed and published the North Western Star and Frome Journal at Wilmington from 1912 until late October 1914.
With Port Augusta growing rapidly, they decided to transfer their operations to the town and produced two weekly editions of their new paper, which they called The Transcontinental, before they sold the business to Messrs. J.E. Edwards and M.H. Hill, both of whom lived in Port Augusta.
The first two editions were never sent to the Archives in Adelaide and copies have never been obtained. The first edition recorded by the State Library is November 6, 1914.
The Transcontinental carried an endorsement that it was the only Federal newspaper in Australia. This probably alluded to the fact that at that time the Commonwealth Government was purchasing large areas of land, and homes, in Port Augusta in preparation for the advent of the Trans Australian railway.
Mr Edwards and Mr Hill were employees of the Port Augusta Dispatch (1877-1916) when they decided to leave to run The Transcontinental. Maurice Hill Jnr, who recorded the history of the paper wrote: “Because of his key position (as printer) Maurice Hill was allowed a ‘dispensation’ for a few weeks to work on both papers but Jack Edwards’ services were dispensed with by the ‘Dispatch’ and he was therefore able to devote his full time energies to the new venture.”
Until August, 1917, the North Western Star banner heading was used for the issues sent to Wilmington with The Transcontinental heading used on Page 3. The two headings were exchanged for the Port Augusta issue.
In June, 1927, M. H. Hill transferred to Port Lincoln to found the Port Lincoln Times. In the June 24 issue of The Transcontinental it was announced that the paper would be printed and published by Lindsay Gordon Riches.
From March, 1935, the reference on the front page title to the North Western Star disappeared. The new title appeared as the name printed across a map of Australia.
Mr Riches was elected to State Parliament in 1935 and the imprint changed to advise that the paper was printed and published by K.E. Miller and F.N. Higginson for Mr Riches. From September 23, 1938, a single sheet, printed both sides, appeared in the paper with the heading “Whyalla News.” The insert discontinued from April 26, 1940 when Jock Willson set up the Whyalla News. In April, 1951, it was announced the paper would be printed by Edwards (one of the early owners) and Riches – but Mr Riches took no active part because he was still an MP.
In 1956, The Transcontinental absorbed The Quorn Mercury – elements of which were still seen until the late 1980s with the
“country” spread in the paper. For about two years in the early 1960s the newspaper was printed bi-weekly on Tuesday and Friday. However according to Maurice Hill Jnr, this was discontinued due to a nationwide credit tightening for advertisers.
Because businesses wanted to access bulk advertising throughout the region, there was a brief amount of time when
The Transcontinental and the Port Pirie Recorder merged.
The two papers were discarded and replaced with The Northern Observer in July, 1971. This move was extremely unpopular with advertisers and readers and both papers went back to their former production schedules in September of that year.
Following this, in March, 1980, The Transcontinental office itself made the news, when a 51-year-old pensioner was charged with maliciously setting fire to the building. The attack caused between $12,000 and $15,000 of damage to the front office area.
In 1991, Fairfax Media took control of The Transcontinental when it purchased the interests of the Willson family’s Northern Newspapers Pty. Ltd.