CT workers take a trip down memory lane
1932, wow, that’s when the Central Telegraph first went through the printing press all those years ago and over that time there has been a dedicated Central Telegraph team delivering the vital news of the region.
Of course the size of the team has shrunk over the years to just a two-person crew today (one journalist and one sales consultant), but ‘back in the day’ the old office was packed to the rafters.
Former Central Telegraph photographer, columnist and media sales consultant Christopher Davies said his working experience with the publication was full of friends, family, laughter, excitement and tears.
“The Central Telegraph is more than a newspaper to me,” Mr Davies said.
“I gained an incredible experience with dealing with people at the best and worst times of their lives, emergency services and politicians, as well as viewing Banana Shire through a lens and seeing the incredible strength and hard work the community puts in.
“I occasionally heard at times “The CT is useless”, “They don’t care” – well you are wrong! “The late nights, the weekends, the pressure of getting to print a source of information, a ‘happy birthday’, a ‘you will be missed’, a garage sale was a huge task with an ever-reducing budget and pressure from the top.”
Former Central Telegraph typesetter Margaret Fisher’s stint at the ‘CT’ was from 1987–1995 when the paper was published on a Wednesday not a Friday.
She was employed to typeset anything that was sent in and handwritten, such as the local columns.
“All the local areas had a local identity who would write up what was happening in their area,” Mrs Fisher said.
“This was the backbone of the local newspaper.
“Every community then had a voice in their local newspaper, even if it was just a column.
“We had a great workforce back then.
“The newspaper was a big part of it, but there was also the commercial printing, hearing those printing machines chugging along. Nothing was quiet, I must say.”
Former Central Telegraph compositor Heather Stevens started work as an apprentice compositor straight out of school in January 1986 and completed a four-year apprenticeship.
“I enjoyed my time working at the CT. Peter Bates was a strict boss and, at the young age of 17, he and a couple of other ladies Helen Georgiou and Margaret Guest moulded me into the hardworking and dedicated person I am today along with strong work ethics,” Mrs Stevens said.
“We had to clock in and out every day for work and strictly only 10 minutes for lunch or else Peter Bates was there to get us back to work.
“Very sad to hear of the closing down of the Central Telegraph.
“I have fond memories of my days working for the Central Telegraph over a period of 12 years and made some lifelong friends along the way.”
Mrs Stevens added that in her time, Tuesday was the busiest day. It was deadline day for Wednesday publication.
“We were on a strict time frame to have that paper packed up and in the port to be taken down to the servo to catch the bus to Rockhampton to be printed by, if my memory serves me correctly, 5.20pm,” Mrs Stevens said.
“The paper would be returned to Biloela in the early hours of Wednesday morning and, to earn extra cash as an apprentice, I would sometimes go in and do the inserts for the paper at 4am in the morning.”
Mr Davies counts his coverage of the 2013 floods and work alongside local law enforcement as work memories he cherishes dearly.
“When I first started at the CT, I was young and had no idea about newspapers or what I was getting into at the time,” Mr Davies said.
“I was met with an already reduced staff than what it had previously seen, a passionate team with history and respect for the publication and the town. I easily fitted right in.
“I will miss the good ol’ CT. I am privileged to have met some of the best friends in the world that will last forever and for that, thank you.”
To make sure you stay connected and up-to-date with community-driven news from local journalists, go to the subscription site or call Subscriber Services on 1300 361 604.