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Bega  Standard office about 1899. This image is from the collections of the State Library of NSW. At Work and Play – 02227

Bega Standard office about 1899. This image is from the collections of the State Library of NSW. At Work and Play – 02227

One of Bega’s historical newspapers, the Bega Standard, is now searchable online for the years 1876-1884 through the National Library of Australia’s Trove discovery tool.

Beginning life in 1868 as the Southern Standard, the newspaper was sponsored by Robert William Sharpe and began operating in opposition to the established Bega newspaper of the time, the Bega Gazette. In 1872, Mr P. Quinlivan purchased the Southern Standard. This was about the fourth change in ownership since its establishment 4 years earlier.

In 1873, Fred Berne bought the newspaper from Mr Quinlivan.

In 1870, Laurence John O’Toole arrived in Bega from Wollongong. He had previously worked as a journalist for the Illawarra Mercury. O’Toole worked for Fred Berne at the Southern Standard, which, after Berne’s accidental death by drowning in 1874, was bought by William Neilley. O’Toole joined Neilley as a partner a few months later and they changed the name to the Bega Standard. At that time the newspaper boasted a circulation of 400 copies.

O’Toole left the Bega Standard in 1875 and went to Sydney working for the Sydney Evening News. He was sent back to the South Coast to report on the recently discovered gold fields near Bermagui – the Montreal fields.

In the 1870’s the Bega Standard was published once a week, every Saturday morning. By the end of 1882 publication had increased to twice a week with a Wednesday and Saturday edition. A quarterly subscription to the paper cost 4s., 6d.

Walter Archibald Smith joined the Bega Standard as an apprentice aged 14 in 1888. In the late 1890’s, ownership of the newspaper changed to William Duff and in 1901, the Bega Standard was bought by Harry Jardine. The Bega Gazette was struggling so Smith bought it out with Mr P. W. Tarlinton and they changed its name to the Southern Star. After a few years Smith bought Tarlinton out and gained sole ownership.

In 1923, Smith and Jardine worked together to buy out the Bega Budget. They then successfully amalgamated their newspapers (Southern Star and Bega Standard) to form the Bega District News which still operates today.

The Bega Standard’s offices were originally located in Auckland Street, Bega and later moved to premises built by Jardine on East Carp Street.

SOURCES
W. A. Bayley, 1987, History of Bega, G. G. Monaghan, 1987
Florance, Sandra, 2001, Howard’s Way: The Howard Families of Bega 1800 – 2000, Numbugga, N.S.W. : S. Florance.

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