WE tend to define history through big events, those heart-stopping moments when all attention is focused on the unfolding story.
The day a prime minister was swept out to sea, the jubilation surrounding the end of a life-sapping global war and the moment when man first set foot on the lunar surface.
Sure, all of these news stories are important. Life changing, in fact. More locally, the events that change things in the everyday life of a south-west resident sometimes make headlines. A car crash, a sporting victory or neighbourhood dispute.
But most of the time, those important moments are buried within the 1.2 million pages that
Our classifieds have marked the moment when a new family member is added or subtracted, when lovers wed and even the time when you bought your first car.
Those short black-and-white messages have also marked changing trends in our society, from the Georges, Eileens and Beryls born in the 1920s; the Colins, Peters and Jennifers born in the 1950s; and the Coopers, Natalies and Mias born today.
Academic awards and high school sporting achievements are noted for the community to see during our formative years.
The time when we saw our favourite team win the grand final, the frustration when a business closes and the inevitability of another council rate rise.
All are recorded for posterity.
In our wild colonial days, advertisements covered most of the front page. All sorts of marvellous medical cures for dyspepsia and bronchitis, elite tuition at boarding schools and pig sales were advertised on massive pages measuring 67 centimetres in length.
As other forms of communication such as radio and telephones were popularised, the newspaper changed and adapted.
In October 1949,
Photography began to flourish and suddenly locals were thrust into the limelight in pictorial form.
Certain issues came and went and returned again.
Patriotism and flag-waving was very much the order of the day during World War II.
Advertisements promoted thrift rather than indulgence and our pages relayed tales from far-flung locations.
In the prosperous post-war era of the 1950s and 60s,
Light-hearted news became the order of the day with flower shows and young farmer socials given as much prominence as council decisions.
Massive crowds celebrated Warrnambool's centenary in March 1947 with more than 20,000 people, roughly the city's entire population, turning out to see a huge procession of floats along Liebig Street.
South-west agriculture was very much in its halcyon days in the 1950s and an air of consumerism was lapped up by farmers.
Generous loans, three-piece suits, television sets and the latest in "serviceable" furniture were all advertised in order to attract the man on the land's disposable income.
Social change has also been registered through
The obsequious deference of the 1950s slowly eroded with men and women no longer referred to as Mr and Mrs JA Smith as was the custom. Instead, they were simply John and Jane Smith by the early 1980s.
Our view of the world changed. Not due to a particular event, just the gradual change that can only be measured by the turned news pages of time.
An aspirational society slowly developed in the south-west. The rise and fall of interest rates barely rated a mention three decades ago (and that was when the official cash rate was at 12 per cent!).
Now the Reserve Bank's every move is monitored.
During the past decade, south-west news has come to the fore in the pages of
For most of its existence, the newspaper splashed international news on page one each day, every day, from Neville Chamberlain's infamous agreement with Adolf Hitler in 1938 to the tragic day when the American shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986.
Local news took a back seat. Not any more.
Today, editions have become thicker and thicker. Local news has taken its rightful place on the front page as readers are exposed to more information than ever before.
From the small achievements to the head-turning moments,