The Courier serves the State’s main growth area - the Adelaide Hills and predominantly in the expanded Mount Barker and Adelaide Hills Council regions. The circulation area also includes a healthy part of the Barossa and Alexandrina council areas. The increases in popularity of the Adelaide Hills is far beyond a ‘wonderful place to live’.
The whole region is a major tourist destination with its history and unique, unheralded beauty. But it has also become a mecca for viticulture as winemakers develop the distinct characteristics that a high rainfall, cool crisp climate gives its product. The region is still very strong in its agriculture production, particularly apples, pears, cherries, fresh vegetables, potatoes, beef cattle and sheep, with cereal crops and lucerne grown on the Angas Plains and Bremer Valley areas.
THE COURIER in Mt Barker was first published as The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser in 1880 by Charles Dumas.
Mr Dumas was nicknamed “the wily Frenchman” and, after beginning the paper at the age of 30, went on to become a prominent citizen of SA.
In his first editorial he wrote: “In Politics, we shall be liberal; - but while advocating to the best of our ability every measure likely to be of benefit to the District, we shall carefully avoid making our Paper the organ or any particular party of clique, and shall always endeavour to discuss questions coming under our notice, in an unbiased and strictly impartial manner, striving for the greatest good to the greatest number possible.”
He edited the paper for 50 years, was heavily involved in the local community and became a Member of Parliament in 1898.
One of his sons was Sir Lloyd Dumas who followed his father into journalism and was knighted for his lifetime of service to the newspaper industry after many prominent roles including being the managing editor of The Advertiser and later its chairman. Curiously, he never worked at The Courier.
The Courier changed hands twice after the death of Mr Dumas in 1935 and was sold to the Marston family, its current owner, in 1952.
Since that time a member of the Marston family has been at the helm of The Courier and the paper’s adherence to the philosophy espoused in that first editorial of 1880 has not changed. The paper is currently managed by Norman Marston.
The Courier prides itself on reporting the happenings of the district in an even handed manner but at the same time is prepared to fight tooth and nail for the betterment of its community.
The circulation area of the Adelaide Hills has changed dramatically over the years and the paper has had to keep pace in order to reflect its new readership.
The region was once widely regarded as the ‘food bowl of Adelaide’ with much of the district heavily involved in dairying, fruit and vegetable production or general farming.
There was also a solid manufacturing base with a woollen mill at Lobethal, a tannery in Mt Barker, abattoirs at Mt Barker and Nairne and cheese factories dotted about many of the surrounding towns. All are gone today.
The region was thrust, along with many areas of SA, into the international spotlight in 1983 when the Ash Wednesday bushfires tore through the district. A total of 75 lives were lost (47 in Victoria, 28 in SA) and hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed.
The Courier has continued to grow with its community. In 2011, the paper completed the installation of a new press line capable of delivering full colour to every 24-page run.
It employs 30 full and part-time staff and has become an integral part of the Hills community – much as it was in the 1880s.
The Courier has won many newspaper awards. On the national front it won the best newspaper in Australia in 1987, 1988 and 2005. It also took out the Shakespeare Award for editorial excellence in 1990, 1995 and 2005. In 1995 and 1999 it won the Coates Award for excellence in the use of color.
It has been a regular winner of Country Press SA Inc, awards, claiming best newspaper (large circulation) in 1963, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009.
It has won best advertisement/ad feature nine times since 1991; best photography (news/sport) 11 times since 1979 and excellence in journalism three times – in 1984, 1994 and 2010.
Published Day: Wednesday
Circulation (Paid): 9000
Cover Price: $1.70 GST Inc.
Address: Cnr Mann and Hutchinson Street, Mount Barker
Postal Address: Box 21, Mount Barker SA 5251
Phone Number: 08) 8391 1388
Fax Number: (08) 8391 2312
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