Namoi Valley Independent moving from 287 Conadilly Street

The Namoi Valley Independent will begin a new era on Friday when it moves to a new building.

Thursday’s edition was the last paper written and sold at 287 Conadilly Street, which has housed NVI for more than 100 years. 

The NVI was established in 1876 by Joseph Higgins when the township only numbered around 500 people, according to Gunnedah and District Historicial Society’s sesquicentenary book, The Way We Were

The first editor of the newspaper was Thomas Roberts who previously worked on the Kiama paper before moving to the North West.

Producing a newspaper in the 1800s was a difficult task with the editor and compositors hand-picking each letter from typecases to produce columns of type, working late into the night to meet deadline.

Mr Roberts resigned five years after he arrived, starting his own publication, The Gunnedah Advertiser.

In 1905, the NVI was purchased by John Longmuir for 300 pounds. Mr Longmuir threw himself into council meetings, court reporting, public meetings and issues experienced in the town.

The NVI and the Gunnedah Advertiser competed for circulation and advertising for the first 14 years before merging the papers in 1919 to form the Gunnedah Independent Advertiser.

For almost 30 years, Mr Longmuir edited the paper while William LeCussan managed it. Following Mr Longmuir’s death in 1947, their sons John Longmuir junior and Stan LeCussan took over. Stan took on responsibility for the commercial printing sector of the business.

The Independent Advertiser was in a constant state of renewal, steadily upgrading its newspaper and commercial printing plant and expanding throughout the 1950s.

When space became an issue, the partners decided to form separate companies. Stan established Provincial Printery in Chandos Street in 1958, while the newspaper arm became Gunnedah Publishing Company.

In 1970, the Independent purchased three units of Goss Community press and ancillary equipment, moving from hot metal to cold-type production. It was the second country newspaper to take on the new technology.

A close friend of John Longmuir, Brian Gregson, took over the managerial position in 1974 and Murray McCracken became editor. Upon John Longmuir’s death in 1979, Mr Gregson became managing director. He retired in 1995 and Bev Morgan took over the reins.

In 1979, Ron McLean began a new era as editor and also took on the North West Magazine until 1982.

In 2001, the company was sold to a new partnership entailing Ken McKenzie, Keith Millerd, Terry Maroney, Rodney Coe and Peter Koch.

Fairfax Media purchased the NVI in November 2011. The printing press was sold and the newspaper is now printed in Tamworth.

NVI’s new office is located at 326 Conadilly Street.