Siblings Peter and Linda Gibson, grandchildren of Vera Gibson, founder of Central Queensland News.
Siblings Peter and Linda Gibson, grandchildren of Vera Gibson, founder of Central Queensland News.

CQ News through the generations

THREE generations of the Gibson family left their imprint on the Central Queensland News.

The newspaper was established and first published in 1937 by Vera Gibson.

Her children, Norman and Margaret, and theirs, Peter and Linda, successively contributed to the masthead’s growth.

Even Ann Gibson, nee Ramsay, was married to the family business.

This week, as the CQ News presses halt, we spoke with Linda and Ann about the development of the “local rag”.

“Margaret was the editor and ran a tight ship,” Linda said. “Praise was given when praise was due.

“The back room was a combination of ink, lead – in the early days – and the noisy rhythm of the machines.

“The palms of Dad’s hands were always smooth from the continual use of Solvol soap to remove ink.”

Photographic technology gradually improved. Linda recalled the dramatic change brought on by polaroid cameras.

It made the workers’ jobs easier and allowed Central Highlands residents to become more involved in the newspaper.

“Including photos was the beginning of a big boost to circulation of the CQ News,” Linda said.

“Everyone would feel a bit special if they had their ‘picture in the paper’.”

Peter Gibson at work on Linotype Model 5 in storage at Emerald.
Peter Gibson at work on Linotype Model 5 in storage at Emerald.

Ann was around for the revolution that superseded the era of the handset and linotype – that of the computer.

“A few years after I started, I remember being trained on the very first Apple Macintosh computer, which was so advanced compared to what we’d been using,” she said.

“It actually showed on the screen what style and size I was typing. This was progress.”

The heat of deadline day, especially when the paper had multiple editions a week, stuck firmly in the minds of all who felt its vigour.

“Because the CQ News was a small family operated business,” Ann said, “everyone helped out with whatever needed doing, if they were able to be spared.

“Such was the intensity of producing three weekly editions for many years.”

Linda said “Thursday was certainly the day to remember”.

“The paper went to press and it had to be out on time to get the papers bundled up and onto the train to be transported to outlying towns,” she said.

“It was all hands on deck, exhilarating at that time and a relief when it was all done.”

Nevertheless, the personal bonds formed over decades persist.

“Employees at the CQ News were like extended family members,” Linda said.

“We all had ink running through our veins and the local rag was our coat of arms.

“Times dictate change however we will always have our memories.”

Before his death, Norman Gibson wrote the following about the newspaper business:

“All the savings members of newspaper families made, all the sacrifices, were put back into improving the newspaper in either better buildings, more advanced equipment and employing more people to operate it, while they took what was left.

“In the beginning the local rag was the sole source of information, but with the introduction of the electronic media in radio and television and quicker delivery of provincial and daily newspapers, better telephone services, the ‘local’ has become the provider of the detail of the local news, so valued by its readers.”


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