The Daily Advertiser has marked many milestones in its almost 150 years of existence.
From changes of names, to changes in the way we produce our product, they’ve all taken place at 48 Trail Street.
But as the company moves into a digital first approach to the way we report the news, it’s also moving into a new building.
The Daily Advertiser moves to 19 Peter Street on Monday, October 9.
It has been in its current location since about 1910, when then-owner Steven Sullivan built it at 48 Trail Street.
This was the same time that the paper became a daily publication.
The Daily Advertiser previously operated from an office further down Trail Street that was erected adjacent to Belmore House, the residence of the newspaper’s founder, A. G. Jones.
The paper had many developments before Graham Gorrel became editor in 1979 from 1992.
Graham started as a journalist with The Daily Advertiser in 1960, when the smell of hot metal and newsprint was rife.
“She was one of the real old style newspaper offices in those days,” he said.
“There was a great comradery in those days.”
The building had no air conditioning and about 20 reporters worked upstairs on Remington Royal typewriters.
Windows had to be opened to allow a breeze to flow through but Mr Gorrel said starlings would often nest in the plane trees around the building and stink out the office.
In the late 1980s, John Jackson moved editorial and typesetting upstairs to the back of the building and the press downstairs.
John retired in 1990 and Graham supervised the installation of the new press, which was later sold to Tamworth.
In the late 1990s, Graham proposed to the board the notion of moving the printing press to an industrial area and shifting editorial, advertising and typesetting to a more central location in Fitmaurice Street. His idea was dismissed.
Cut to about 20 years down the track as The Daily Advertiser prepares to move to Peter Street.
“It’s what should have happened back then,” he said.
“I think it’s exciting in its own way.”
While Graham said there have undoubtedly been some great memories had at 48 Trail Street, moving office is not a sad occasion.
“History is a part of journalism but you can’t let it stand in the way,” he said.
He would like to see the facade of The Daily Advertiser incorporated into whatever the new owners choose to do at the premises.
Current member for Riverina Michael McCormack became the youngest editor of a daily newspaper in Australasia in 1992 at the age of 27.
He had been a journalist since 1981 and left The Daily Advertiser in 2002.
“The Daily Advertiser was a big part of my life,” he said.
Michael was present for the transition to full colour editions and said it was “a big shebang” when the new press hall opened in 1992.
He started the real estate guide as a lift-out in Saturday’s paper in the late 1990s and the Weekend Advertiser in February, 2002.
The implementation of fax machines into newsrooms fostered lazy journalism, according to Michael, as reporters were required to leave the office less.
“I don’t think it served journalists well because they didn’t get out of the office as much … they could get things faxed to them and didn’t have to leave much,” he said.
Michael worked in a time where there were about 58 editorial staff, all predominantly local people.
He cannot think of many other organisations, except Hunters Newsagency (established 1866) and the Murrumbidgee Turf Club (circa 1860), to rival The Daily Advertiser for longevity.
“I think it’s just the evolutionary process,” he said of the move.
“The DA really is the pulse of Wagga.
“It continues to survive and still emerge as one of the leaders in conveying the news.
“The Daily Advertiser was a big part of my life … I’m proud of the fact I spent 21 years there.”
South-West NSW group managing editor Paul McLoughlin said the location of the new office was key to the move, taking the team into the heart of the city making them more accessible to readers and business partners.
The Daily Advertiser, The Leader, The Land, The Rural, the Junee Southern Cross and the Eastern Riverina Chronicle will all be based at the new office.
“The mastheads have a rich history of service to this community,” Paul said.
“This is also a significant commitment from Fairfax in giving our substantial team an environment that is appropriate for the changing media landscape.”
As a former editor of The Daily Advertiser, Paul said the move to a new office came at a time which reminded everyone of the important role the daily newspaper has played in the region.
“Next year, the DA will celebrate its 150th anniversary,” he said.
“This is a remarkable achievement and makes it one of the oldest mastheads in Australia.
“This has only been possible because of the support of the community - but it’s a two-way partnership as we also give back substantially by way of sponsorship and support of many organisations and community groups.”
Mr McLoughlin said while there would be some sadness in leaving the Trail Street location, the move signalled an exciting new chapter in the history of the publications that will be operating from the Peter Street location.
For almost 12 years, I’ve climbed the 23 stairs to the top of 48 Trail Street to start my working day. Past and present employees of The Daily Advertiser or any of its mastheads would have started, continued or ended their careers in this building.
It seems bizarre to get nostalgia about four walls and some bricks but it has been a home away from home for so long. Writing this Weekender has been a reminder of the happy, fun, sad and stressful times I’ve had here – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The building itself needs some work, and might be haunted if you believe the rumours, but it’s the memories made within it and the people who have passed through that have made it an enjoyable place to work.
The official opening will be held on October 9 with invited guests arriving at 10am for proceedings to commence at 10.15am.
A community barbecue will be held on Friday, October 13 with Wollundry Rotary cooking the food from midday.