JOHN Dalziel worked for the Stawell Times-News for 30 years before commercial production stopped locally.
His career began with a five-year apprenticeship, consisting of general printing, compositing and machining.
Mr Dalziel’s role included ensuring the burners were lit, ready to melt the lead for the Linotype. The Linotype would assemble letters from the compositors and then press out lines of type, or text, into the hot metal.
When the type had been proofed, it was put into a chase in which the ink would then roll across it. The paper would then be rolled across the ink where four pages were printed at a time.
After printing had finished, the paper was folded.
“The folding machine would always break down. It wasn’t unusual for us to finish at 1am or 2am – sometimes fixing the machine with frost dripping off the roof,” Mr Dalziel said.
The Stawell Times-News employed about six people in its production department during his employment.
“I worked with a good bunch of people. We had some great times,” he said.
Betty Smith would have read many of the newspapers Mr Dalziel printed.
Her first memories of reading the local newspapers was sitting with her parents and siblings and learning what was happening in the area.
Mrs Smith remembers the newspapers reporting on very busy times and her favourite was when the circus and shows came to town.
“I remember when the shows and circus came to town. It was always a big event in the town,” she said.
Another memorable moment for Mrs Smith was when trains arrived with extra carriages at Easter time to cater for the influx of tourists.
“It was always lovely to see all the people come to town. The paper always reported on the crowds,” she said.
Mrs Smith is now a resident of Eventide Homes. Her daughter delivers a copy of the Stawell Times-News to her room. The paper is then sent to her family in Melbourne.
Mrs Smith, who turns 99 next month, still believes that the newspaper is the best source of news locally.
“If we don’t get the paper, we’ll miss something,” she said.
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