The Port News celebrated its 130th birthday on Sunday July 8 and you can win a trip to the world-class Byron at Byron in Monday's edition of the Port News.
For the history buffs, we have featured some reflections from former managing director of the Port Macquarie News, Keith Uptin ...
A TRUE buzz filled the streets of our town – and the printing presses hummed during a boom in the 1980s, remembers newspaper stalwart Keith Uptin.
The 73-year-old Port Macquarie resident is the former managing director of the Port Macquarie News and began work at the paper immediately after he finished high school in 1952.
Mr Uptin and his brother Alan supervised both the content and printing of the paper.
Port Macquarie as a town grew enormously in the early 1980s, as did the paper alongside it, Keith says.
“In 1982, we were doing three papers a week and averaging 6500 copies an issue. It was great,” he says.
“It was amazing how it [the paper] was growing, and the town was growing, too. It was the start of the boom times here in the 1980s. It was great,” he says.
His father, Charlie Uptin, first took over the business in 1945.
When Keith Uptin began, the paper cost just four pence and court and council were among his reporting rounds.
“Some of the things to come out of the council meetings were quite exciting, things like when the mayor threatened to punch someone when he wouldn’t shut up,” Keith says, laughing.
Keith has fond memories of events supported by the paper, such as a business dinner where wooden trophies, hand-made by local craftsmen, were presented to Port Macquarie’s sporting organisations.
A lunch held for the 11 oldest people in the district was another, he says.
“We were building momentum and organising weekend activities. We are one of the biggest growing areas in the state,” he says.
Some 42 people were employed at the paper by the 1980s, including printing press and secretarial staff. Today, the paper’s two buildings contain about 65 employees.
A celebration of the newspaper’s 100th anniversary and a special centenary publication became a highlight of his career, Keith says.
But the most memorable event was a two-week long party to celebrate 150 years of the town in 1968, he says.
“We had a wonderful two weeks then, with all the
celebrations which the paper got involved in,” Keith says.
The business was sold in 1982 and Keith and Alan started Uptin Print – which still operates from Milton Circuit – the following year.
“Our contribution and my Dad’s contribution through the paper to the town I feel was well worth it. We were well rewarded with accolades, and it was great to be able to do that,” he says.
Keith spent 7½ years as a local government councillor.
“I look forward to seeing the new list of councillors because I know how difficult the job can be,” he says.