In 1912, Taree was served by one local newspaper, the Manning River Times. But things were about to change…
David Cowan was born on Oxley Island in 1870.1 Academically gifted, he qualified as a solicitor and opened his own practice in Taree in 1899.2 He served as President of Manning Shire Council for two years from 1911, with ambitions to enter State politics.3
A local newspaper seemed the perfect fit. It was, however, an expensive undertaking.
Having decided on a name “The Northern Champion” David set about acquiring printing machinery and recruiting suitably experienced staff. There seemed no shortage of applicants, several already employed by other regional newspapers.4
The first edition of “The Northern Champion” appeared on Saturday 12 October 1912, just a few days after the registration of its parent company. The masthead proudly proclaimed it to be “The Manning’s Real Newspaper”. Its stated aim was to “champion” the rural producers of the district, who, it was alleged, had been neglected by government at the expense of city centric policies.5
It was published in Cowan’s printing works in Albert Street, Taree. It was not until 1922, shortly before David Cowan’s death, that production would move to new, brick built, printing offices in Pulteney Street.6
Author: Penny Teerman
1 NSW BDM: Birth 11668/1870
2 Northern Champion Wednesday 25 October 1922 P2
3 Government Gazette of NSW Wednesday 1 March 1911 (Issue No. 26) P1258 & Wednesday 28 February 1912 (issue No. 29) P 1520
4 Letters contained in cache of family documents – File No. 2365
5 Original copy of Northern Champion contained in cache of family documents.
6 Northern Champion Saturday 24 December 1921 P4