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8 - 14 February 2012 • Thursday Island • www.torresnews.com.au • email@example.com • Edition No. 1000 • $2.00 inc. GST s!
Historic 1000th edition By MARK ROY ABOUT 20 years ago, the Torres Strait’s own weekly newspaper started numbering its editions - but its unique history goes back a lot further than that. This week, the Torres News clocks up a milestone, with the 1000th issue - but it seems some things never change. One of the former owners of the newspaper, Jaki Gothard, says back then, people used to wait patiently for the paper to come on publication day, after being printed, stapled, and collated at the Torres News building the night before. “Sometimes we would be up until 4am doing it by hand, if a piece of machinery broke down. “But people were always keen to get the paper. They bought the Torres News for the TV guide, the ads, and the photos,” she said with a laugh. “That was in the good old days, the early days, when life was a lot simpler.” Bonnie Turner, who sells the Torres News from SeeHops on Douglas Street, says things haven’t changed that much in 20 years. “People are still here first thing on Monday morning, asking if the paper is in, and many customers will just sit and wait for it,” Bonnie said. The paper began its long and colourful history in 1888, when the Torres Straits Pilot and New Guinea Gazette began pubishing one of the world’s most unique independent newspapers. A sample of the Torres Straits Daily Pilot from the 1930s contains items of interest for “any person wishing to board steamers anchored at Black Rock”, general shipping news, ads for “highest quality, greatest strength Gilbeys gin, by appointment to HM the King” and articles on the English bodyline attack in the cricket series against the West Indies. Fast-forward to June 5, 1992, and the news has become less anglocentric, with a photograph of traditional dancers at the Cultural Festival on the front page, and the headline (see inset image): “Mabo Case - High Court Finds in Favour of Murray Islanders”.
“Mabo Case - High Court Finds in Favour of Murray Islanders” front page of the Torres News June 5, 1992
Bonnie Turner at the SeeHops counter with edition number 1 and and edition 999 of the Torres News. PHOTO: MARK ROY It was later that year that Jaki started the editioned numbering system in the newspaper, with edition 1 on October 16-22, 1992. She said after the previous owner and his Torres Island Trading company went broke, she took over the paper “nobody wanted to buy” with Ruth Nichols. “It was Ruth’s husband, the senior sergeant at the Thursday Island Police Station, who suggested us two old girls buy the paper,” Jaki said. “So before we knew it, we were the proud
d e i r t u o y e v Ha u n e m w e n e th at the
owners of a newspaper.” Jaki said the previous owner, Dennis Rheinhardt, had turned what was a four-sheet stapled newsletter into a proper paper. “Gwen Moloney used to put it out, and when we took over, she used to write a column for us called ‘Gwen’s Pen’, which was very popular,” Jaki said. “People loved to read the gossip, and of course the police reports.” She said she had fond memories of working on the paper over 12 years.
“A lot of the girls who worked for us have gone on to university, and one is doing a PhD,” she said. “The paper was like a family to us.” The newspaper continues in family hands to this day, with Meg, Mark and Corey Bousen taking over the business about halfway through the current run of 1000 editions. Thank you to all the advertisers, readers and supporters of the Torres News who ensure the local news hits the streets from Coconut Island to Canberra week in, and week out.
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Identity the focus of Badu’s Australia Day celebrations BEING proud of who we are and where we’ve come from was the theme of the colourful Torres Strait Island Regional Council Australia Day 2012 celebrations at Badu Island. Badu Island Councillor Wayne Guivarra said identifying and respecting all cultural heritages were the fundamentals to building strong families and vibrant communities of a multi-cultural nation. More than 200 community members participated in Australia Day celebrations on Badu where activities included the award presentations, tug-of-war, volleyball knockouts, treasure hunts, soccer matches, rugby league games, egg throwing and water slides. “Of course, no Australia Day celebration would be complete without a good serving of barbecue sausages, steak, fresh buns and an abundance of fresh fruit,” said Cr Guivarra. “I am excited because it is days like these that give us great hope, that we can come together as a strong multi-cultural society and make a united approach to building a modern Australian community which yearns for a prosperous,
harmonious and positive future for all Australians.” The acknowledgement of all TSIRC Australia Day Award winners were warmly received. T h e T S I R C C o u n c i l l o rnominated judging panel awarded Beatrice Mosby of Masig with the Citizen of the Year Award, while the announcement of Erub’s enterprising and adventurous youth advocate, young Torres Webb as the recipient of the Young Citizen of the Year Award, left the impression he will play a prominent role in future leadership to the Torres Strait region. “As culture and custom is a part of everyday practice in the Torres Strait, it was further uplifting to hear that the recent release of the Poruma Cultural CD was awarded the Cultural Event of the Year,” Cr Guivarra said. Cr Guivarra said that there was a great sense of community pride when it was made known that three award recipients came from Badu Island. Senior Citizen of the Year was Aunty Alma Enosa. In her reply speech Aunty Alma said she was very proud to be an Australian, particularly as Australia accepted
Children enjoy the Australia Day celebrations Badu style. For more photos see pages 12 & 13 >> peoples of all nationalities. “Mrs Lily Ahmat was most deserving of her Community Achievement Award for her long term commitment to community administration, while teenager Zengrey Nona’s sporting achievements over the past 12 months reﬂected his recognition as the Sportsperson of the Year,” he said. In his opening address Cr. Wayne
Guivarra also spoke on the processes of the Constitutional Reforms currently being developed and of the opportunities it may bring if supported in a national referendum. “All Australians need to walk side-by-side and talk side-by-side,” he said. “The recognition of our indigenous ﬁrst nations in the constitution may also hasten the ideals to bridging the
gap in indigenous disadvantage. “But it is also about reconciling negative indifferences so as to strengthen foundations to a progressive and better Australia for all,” he said. Other Australia Day speakers included renowned regional indigenous advocate Maluwap Nona and Tagai College Badu Campus student leader Watholyan Ahmat.
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