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A newspaper called the "Alpine Pioneer" was published in Kiandra, the proprietors being J. and T. Garrett, the latter, afterwards Minister for Lands, being the father of Mr. T. W. Garrett, the international cricketer, for many years Registrar in Probates, and until a few weeks ago Public Trustee for the State, and today a member of the legal firm of Garrett, Christie and Berne. The "Alpine Pioneer" probably was born at Kiandra during the year 1860, as the writer of this holds a receipt for six months' subscription, ending Feb., 1861, given by the proprietors to Mr. A. Montague.
On the 23rd February, 1861, Mr. Alexander Montague convened a meeting at Ward's Australian Hotel, Cooma, for the purpose of considering the expediency of taking measures for the establishment of a local paper. At such meeting a resolution was carried "That funds be provided to the extent of £300 as an inducement to the proprietors of the 'Alpine Pioneer' to remove the plant of that journal to Cooma and for indemnifying the said proprietors for the expenditure of moneys necessary for carrying out and perfecting the undertaking." A committee of 38 district residents was then formed and a working committee of seven, of which Mr. R. C. Joplin was Chairman, got energetically to work and appears to have succeeded in its objective, for on November 29, 1862, the "Sydney Morning Herald" contains a report from the correspondent of the "Manaro Mercury," evidencing the establishment of that journal, though when the actual transfer of the plant took place is now enshrouded in the mists of Time. Whether the Messrs. Garrett conducted the paper for any time at Cooma is not quite clear. It was for a short period under the management of Messrs. Dixon and Hardie, who were followed by Mr. R. Taylor. In 1864 the journal was acquired by a Mr. Heney, father of Mr. T. W. Heney, one time editor of "The Sydney Morning Herald," and now associated with "The Daily Telegraph." Mr. Heney with the help of his cousin and partner, Mr. G. W. Spring. carried on the paper until his death in 1875. His widow then sold her husband's interest to Mr. Spring, who ran the paper for several years till he sold out to Mr. Evans, who, after four years' ownership, died, his widow disposing of her interest to a Mr. W. M. Madgwick in 1889, Mr. Madgwick in turn disposing of his interests to Mr. F. C. Hogg, the present proprietor, in 1899.
The earlier business of the Manaro Mercury was conducted at first in premises belonging to Mr. A. Montague in Commissioner Street, now belonging to Mr. Sands and situate opposite Dodd's Hotel. Later it was removed to Vale Street, adjoining the shop now occupied by Mr. C. J. Hain and formerly used as a chemist shop by Mr. Evans, one time owner of the paper, and eventually was transferred to the site it now occupies.
The journal appeared first as a weekly, being published on Saturdays.
"THE COOMA EXPRESS."
"The Cooma Express" was founded by Mr. G. T. C. Miller, for 29 years the parliamentary representative for the district, and seems to have started in premises in Massie Street, opposite the building where it is at present conducted. Later, it was removed to Vale Street where Mr. J. A. Perkin's shop is to-day, and it appears for a time to have also been carried on in small premises near the Commercial Bank. Mr. Miller was associated for some time with Mr. Spring of the Manaro Mercury, but prior at all events to 1875, in consequence of some disagreement with his employer, severed the connection and started the paper with which for so long he was closely associated.
"The Cooma Express" has had many editors. Mr. Miller retained the ownership of it during his life, but leased it to Messrs. Hewison, Hewison and Sullivan, MacCue, and A. and F. Mullane. Between the periods of leasing he ran it himself. It was subsequently purchased by Arthur Mullane. who disposed of it to the present owner, Mr. Wallace Craigie.
Other district papers are the "Adaminaby Advocate," published at Adaminaby, founded by Mr. Miller, and now controlled by Mr. D. J. Baragry; and the "Nimitybelle News," issued at Nimmitabel by Mr. A. P. Thomas.
A paper under this name appears
to have been in existence in 1873, for in April of that year the "Sydney
Mail" reports the "Cooma Gazette" as advising that the proceeds
of a bazaar in aid of the Anglican Church at Boloco totalled £233/12/-, and the
fact that it was conducted by a Mr. L. J. O'Toole in premises opposite those
where the "Express" is to-day carried on, is the only information
obtainable concerning the journal.
Transcribed by Pattrick Mould, May 2003, from the book "Back to Cooma" Celebrations, Felix Mitchell, 1926, p100