better to be reading this edition of the Tamworth Times, especially this local history section!
You may not realise this is actually the 5th Tamworth Times newspaper over the years, the first by that name (Tamworth Weekly Times) starting way back in 1873.
Then we had the Tamworth Times commencing 1911, another short-lived publication, printed weekly and later twice a week on pink paper at what is now 282 Peel Street.
Then, 70 years later, another Tamworth Times, a 24 page weekly publication, started by editor Frank Crosling with a small office and 6 paid employees near the Goodies Hotel in Brisbane Street.
This was Tamworth's first free paper, like the one you are now reading.
Following this was the Tamworth City Times, another 24-pager from 1988. And finally, today's Tamworth Times, incorporating the Tamworth Independent, which commenced in 2000 opposite the City Sider Motel in Marius Street, and now under the umbrella of the Northern Daily Leader.
Before Tamworth had its own newspaper, we would be getting news up to a week old from the Sydney Morning Herald, transported from Sydney in the 1840's.
Needless to say this would not include any local news coverage.
However, with the commencement and availability of the Maitland Mercury from 1843, there was significant coverage of Tamworth events, our town having strong connections with Maitland and Morpeth.
Armidale beat Tamworth to the punch (doesn't happen very often!), having its own newspaper from 1856 (The Express), but their paper provided little Tamworth coverage.
But then, in April 1859, we published our first newspaper, The Examiner, first based in Fitzroy Street, then at today's 300 Peel Street, and finally next to the Police Station of those times, where Target is now located.
The Examiner had an 8 page format with 4 columns to a page and plenty of advertisements.
The weekly paper sold for 1 shilling or 30 shillings per year's subscription.
With Tamworth's population at the time being only around 500, editor James Gallagher relied heavily on extra sales at the Rocky River and Nundle goldfields.
Unfortunately the only copies that survive from its 1859-1872 existence are some from the first 5 years, now held in the Mitchell Library.
In 1872 a rival Tamworth News was set up, which eventually led to both Gallagher and the Examiner's demise over a libel court case.
The previously well-credentialled Gallagher came to a sorry end, coming before the court to be declared bankrupt, too intoxicated to take the oath!
He moved from Tamworth to Inverell, then to Armidale where he died, bankrupt, in the Armidale Gaol.
I don't know how Rupert Murdoch would have fared in those days!
By 1875 a third newspaper had emerged - The Tamworth Observer, under the leadership of George Hooke, who had previously worked for the Examiner.
It started in a small bark humpy at today's 286 Peel Street, a weekly publication of 4 pages at sixpence per copy.
Pro-selector and anti-squatter, Hooke was criticised for writing with a pen "dipped in nitric acid", which ultimately led to libel action, causing the paper's demise.
Various other newspapers surfaced over the years, the majority short-lived, including - Tamworth Guardian - 1870 ; The Free Selector - 1874 (4 years) ; Tamworth Advocate - 1889 (1 year) ; Tamworth Daily Observer - 1919 ; The Weekly News - 1928 (4 pages , twopence).
After trading for 11 years, the Tamworth Daily Observer merged into our our highly regarded and easily longest-serving local newspaper, The Northern Daily Leader, which got underway in 1921 where Target is now located, as the only daily newspaper in North-West NSW, the chief news provider, being well before the advent of TV and local radio, not to mention today's digital world.
By 1925 the NDL had moved to the recently renovated corner of Brisbane and Marius Streets, then lately to the present location in Bourke Street.
In recent times we had the Tamworth Advertiser (1967), Tamworth City Free Press (1988), Advertiser & City Trader (1994) and Tamworth & District Independent (2000), the latter the forerunner of the Tamworth Times you are (hopefully) still reading.
Perhaps in the future our next local newspaper may be "The Tamworth Historian", but only if you spread the word about these articles. (Then again I might be biased!)
Next week - Early Tamworth Entertainers.