The Cobar Weekly newspaper is celebrating its 33rd birthday today and we’re celebrating!
The Cobar Weekly (TCW) was conceived in October 1985 at a public meeting that was held to gauge community interest for Cobar to have its own independent, local paper.
The idea was met with enthusiastic response with the steering committee of Bill Barwood, Pauline Hunter and Rob Parker elected.
On February 6, 1986 the first edition of The Cobar Weekly was released.
The paper was free and bush residents could also have the paper posted free of charge to them each week.
The paper was printed in Gilgandra for the first few months of its life until committee founding members Rick Mathews and Peter Snelson formed Cobar Print N Paper to print The Cobar Weekly at the end of 1986.
Peter, and later his son David, printed the paper until August 2004.
After almost eight and a half years of using typewriters, cutting and pasting, production of the paper was computerised in 1993.
In 1994, free postage to rural areas ceased as it was no longer a viable service.
In 1999, The Cobar Weekly’s web page was launched on the internet and by 2000, approximately 2,000 copies of the paper were distributed each week.
In February 2005, TCW bought its own photocopier (at a cost of $75,000) and started printing the paper (and the In Cobar magazine) at its own offices.
A cover charge of 50 cents was introduced to help offset the cost of the lease of the printer.
In February 2006 at the paper’s 20th birthday celebrations, founders Bill, Pauline and Rod were awarded Life Membership.
In January 2007, the cost of the paper increased to $1 to help cover printing costs.
By 2012 the average distribution each week was about 1,400 copies. In November 2012, The Cobar Weekly, became the town’s only newspaper when the Cobar Age shut its doors.
The Cobar Weekly’s current managing editor, Sharon Harland, who’s been employed with the paper for over 17 years, said the ‘little paper” has come a long way.
“We’re all committed to our roles here at The Weekly and we’re very grateful to all the hard work that’s gone into the paper by the staff and volunteers that have come before us.
“It’s taken good management, by both the staff and the committee, to ensure that Cobar’s ‘little paper’ has continued to survive for 33 years,” Mrs Harland said.
“By offering a number of ‘add-on’ services such as printing and the regular production of a tourism magazine, that’s helped to ensure The Weekly remains a viable business.
“While many perceive that newspapers are dying, that’s not the case with The Cobar Weekly. It’s pleasing to see our readership hasn’t dropped much over the years and we continue to thrive with the support of our wonderful volunteer committee,” she said.