House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2010


North Sydney Electorate: North Shore Times

4:40 pm

Photo of Joe HockeyJoe Hockey (North Sydney, Liberal Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

All of us in this House understand the important role that local newspapers play in the lives of the communities we represent. Today I want to reflect on the success of one of those papers, the North Shore Times. I do so because last month the Times turned 50, a considerable milestone for both the paper and the North Shore community in Sydney. The newspaper’s golden anniversary is worthy of celebration because the North Shore Times has been the primary journal of record for such a large part of Sydney.

In 1960, when its first edition was published, the North Shore was a very different place. The last North Shore trams had stopped running just two years before. The Warringah Expressway was yet to be built and motorists would wind their way from the Harbour Bridge along the Pacific Highway through North Sydney. Most North Shore residents were of Anglo-Saxon heritage, living in private homes following the urban subdivision patterns of the time. Much of the upper North Shore was still bushland and many of northern Sydney’s suburbs were yet to go through the so-called gentrification that continues today.

The past 50 years have seen dramatic change, all of which has been recorded by the North Shore Times. That change has mostly been for the better. I think particularly of the many people from different nations, including my own father, who have made the North Shore their home. Our communities are more diverse and vibrant as a result. We have seen the growth of places like North Sydney and Chatswood as major commercial centres and we have witnessed the revitalisation of other suburban centres like Lane Cove and Crows Nest in my own electorate.

As with all of Sydney, the population on the North Shore has grown dramatically. Many often reflect that it is harder to maintain a sense of community in such large metropolitan areas. Some fear that we have lost the ‘togetherness’ that communities bring, that we have become suburbs of strangers. While the character of our communities has changed, I am not so pessimistic. That the North Shore Times has survived and thrived is testament to the fact that people still place a high value on strong local communities. The Times both reflects and assists that aspiration. Every week I see people coming together as a community, be it in the hundreds that attend Chinese New Year celebrations in Chatswood or in the thousands that come together every weekend through local sporting organisations or in the strength of community groups working to protect our local environment or assist those in need. As our region has grown in population, the role of the North Shore Times has become more important, not less.

It was Rupert Murdoch’s vision that saw the North Shore Times established in 1960. It needs to be recorded in this House that the North Shore Times stands alongside the Australian as one of the two papers that Rupert Murdoch created from scratch in Australia. In fact, the North Shore Times was the first paper he created from scratch in Australia. The Times records in its golden issue that one of its first journalists, Peter Sinclair, still holds the original layout for the paper prepared by hand by a young Rupert Murdoch—right down to the size and placement of advertisements in those early editions.

Today I thank all of those people that have been involved in the first 50 years of the North Shore Timesits editors past and present, including particularly Mr Ron Bendall; its journalists, many of whom have gone on to bigger and better things in the media over many years; and, importantly for any successful newspaper, those in production and advertising. It says a lot about the whole of Cumberland Newspapers. The current staff, led by the editor Catherine Zuill, reflect the dedication and professionalism that are the hallmarks of good journalism. No-one can really predict what the North Shore of Sydney will look like in another half century, but I am absolutely confident that the North Shore Times will still be there to reflect the triumphs and, occasionally, the disappointments of all of us who call this part of Sydney our home.