We spoke with people who worked for CQ News in the past.
We spoke with people who worked for CQ News in the past.

Growing up with CQ News

1989 editor Debbie Hall

It is with a sad heart and a tear in my eye that I write my tribute to the Central Queensland News as the doors finally close on the paper as we know it.

I spent a little over 20 years working with APN – most of that time was with the CQ News and the majority was as its editor.

I started as a cadet and, at the age of 22, was first made editor in 1989, an appointment that renewed a strong tradition of female editors at the paper.

As I spend time remembering my years with the CQ News, my mind fast forwards past the long hours, the sacrificed weekends, the deadline stress and the angry phone calls.

Instead, I see the many, many faces of the people I worked with, people I still call my friends, and whose friendship, mentorship and incredible work ethic I appreciated and cherished.

I think of the members of our community, some no longer with us, who were regular correspondents and contributors to your news. I smile when I think of our parties – CQ News loved a good party (often themed and usually in costume) – and the fabulous fun we shared.

But above all, I remember how much I loved working at CQ News.

Former journalist Alan Quinney

How sad that so many newspapers are no longer printing but CQ News is special to me as it was the first newspaper I worked on as a fresh-faced journalist straight out of “uni”.

Former owners Margaret and Norm Gibson put me on in November 1977. It was very hot and no airconditioning. There were no computers but at least I did get an electric typewriter.

I had grown up in Capella and went to high school in Emerald so I was familiar with the territory.

It was a time of growth for Emerald as it became the Hub of the Highlands and so much happened for a young reporter to get his teeth around.

Things that standout include numerous coal mine openings, the centenary year and the CQ News booklet, the Paris Cafe on fire, new bridges over the Dawson, Comet and Nogoa Rivers that all went under water their first flood, and automatic telephones.

I lived beside the then new exchange for a while and in the quiet of night it was so noisy, clicking and clunking.

Emerald has grown so much and now has so much it is incredible to me. And some of my friends who also left have returned to enjoy it once more. The CQ News has had such a good past, but its future will be very different. I wish it and all involved the very best.

1969 cadet journalist Lynelle Coyne

I started at the Central Queensland News in January, 1969. Miss Gibson was the editor, and her brother Norman was in charge of printing.

On printing day on Thursdays, it was all hands on deck, from the boys in the “back room”, to the office staff and editorial staff.

There were always last-minute dramas and changes to the front page. We all took turns on the folder, folding in the large sheets which miraculously came out as the finished product at the end.

There was always a great sense of achievement amongst the staff on Thursday afternoons when the noise of the printing press and folder had stopped … unless a complaint had already been made or we found a previously unnoticed mistake!

I am greatly saddened to hear of the end of the hard copy of the Central Queensland News.

The history of this newspaper is a history of the Gibson family and a celebration of human strength and endeavour.

There are very few positions in life where one gets the opportunity to feel guilty for being paid.

My cadetship at the CQ News was one of them. I had a ball!

1966 journalist Dale Gregory

In late 1966, I saw Margaret Gibson about putting an ad in the paper looking for a job, and she said I could work at the CQ News.

To start, I was writing little articles about things in the area. My duties included attending meetings, proof reading (which was very important) collating the paper, race books, shoe schedules, that were done at the CQ News.

There were council meetings to attend in four different shires and going to the police station each Tuesday to get any information they would give me about crimes that had occurred.

One time I had to go to the courthouse (wearing hat and gloves and the only female there).

The camp’s chef at the Blackwater open cut mine had attacked one of the miners with a meat cleaver when the miner had made some nasty remarks about the food.

The miner wouldn’t give his evidence because there “was a lady” present. The detective asked me to leave, I told him I was there for the paper and I was not leaving.

After some time the magistrate told the miner he would just have to pretend I was a man and the case proceeded. I can’t remember the outcome.

It was the best job I ever had.

1988 compositor Fred Wild

I started at CQ News on August 1, 1988.

The CQ News had its own Goss Comet printing press on which the paper was printed. The paper had its own darkroom to produce the photographs for ads and stories. The whole production of the paper from news gathering, through typesetting, paste-up to platemaking and printing was all done on site.

When the paper began running controversial stories linking cotton crop spraying to childhood leukaemia, there was great division in the community.

What began as a sensational journalism exercise morphed into a serious community forum into agricultural activities and their affect on community health.

When the CQ News called on the government to create a buffer zone of trees to filter spray drift and appoint an aerial spray monitor (as recommended in a health report,) it took an active role in the establishment of both.

Soon my “job description” involved not only the production of stories but planting buffer zone trees with visiting celebrities and the community in general. CQ News posters of celebrities posing proudly with their trees adorned the old Emerald Post Office until its relocation.

1961 apprentice Gordon Talbot

My name is Gordon Talbot and I started my apprenticeship with CQ News in 1961.

At this stage Norm Gibson had an old model 5 linotype and I still remember on my first day Norm typing away on the linotype. He gave me the job of sweeping up all the metal shavings around the linotype.

There was only Norm there at this stage so he was very busy. As time progressed and we moved into more space, other apprentices were put on, and at Snooki times we made a few putting holes out the back and we would have a competition going of who got the best score going around the golf course.

Norm being an A grade golf champion also did a lot of coaching. Also because Norm was a top rifle range shooter he would coach us on the correct way to handle the .303.

Many late nights were necessary to get the paper out on time and there seemed always to be a coldie at the end.

It was a very busy place for everyone who worked there but you always felt like one big family.

The paper was extremely popular with the people of Emerald and surrounding areas and Thursday was the day people were looking forward to because of the local rag.


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