Happy birthday to us!
October 1 marks the 150th anniversary of The Standard's first edition.
Who would have thought that four-page paper produced in 1872 just around the corner from our current office would create such a lasting legacy?
I often wonder what co-founders William Fairfax and Henry Laurie would make of The Standard's history. Did they ever think the newspaper would be an integral part of the community for 150 years?
The Standard's history is our region's history.
Wars, recessions, fires, famines, floods, triumphs and tears have been documented in countless pages and now online.
I grew up with a copy of The Standard landing on the front lawn of my family's west Warrnambool home. I watched curiously as my now soon-to-be 92-year-old father Ron read the news of the day. He would then scan the classifieds. "Just checking to see I'm not in here," he mused as he turned to the death notices before moving to the crossword and comics.
Like many children, Wendy's colour-in competition was my first interaction with the paper. I used to admire my older sister's neat, precise pencil strokes that always stayed within the lines. I also admired the blue certificates she received for entries judged the best.
I was never so neat and generally received a yellow certificate for entries deemed to be third-best. Ash Wednesday fires ravaged the south-west in 1983. I still remember standing on the West Warrnambool Primary School oval looking up at the eerie smoke-filled sky wondering what was happening.
A special edition was produced in the aftermath and all proceeds went to help survivors. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with tears running down my face as I read the harrowing stories of devastated families.
The paper was the source of trusted information. It reported the news, galvanised the community and celebrated the re-build. The journalism seed was planted.
The Standard is no longer just a newspaper; like many mastheads, it has had to evolve to survive technology and consumer-habit changes.
Change has been a constant in the industry for the past decade, probably longer. While the way we deliver content has changed, our role has not. The incredibly talented, hard-working team of locals at The Standard records history daily. We still report what's happening, what matters, provide information, celebrate winners, champion causes, hold authorities and elected officials to account and connect our community.
I am incredibly proud and humbled to lead The Standard for such a milestone. In the pages that follow, we delve into our archives to re-trace this great region's history, our history. And we say thank you to you, our loyal readers. We couldn't have got this far without you.
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