History: The Gazette has long been at the forefront of local news

Front page of the first issue of the Windsor & Richmond Gazette dated July 21, 1888. Picture: Courtesy of Trove.
Front page of the first issue of the Windsor & Richmond Gazette dated July 21, 1888. Picture: Courtesy of Trove.

The first newspaper published in Australia was the Sydney Gazette which appeared in 1803, and for the first few years of the penal settlement, it was the only regular source recording events.

A number of newspapers followed the Gazette however it wasn't until the 1840s, that the Hawkesbury had a newspaper produced locally.

The Windsor Express and Richmond Advertiser was established in 1843 but only lasted for twelve months.

Other newspapers appeared over the next 40 years including the Hawkesbury Courier, Hawkesbury Times, The Australian: Windsor & Richmond Advertiser and the Hawkesbury Chronicle.

The longest running newspaper serving the Hawkesbury was established in 1888 by John Charles Lucas Fitzpatrick.

As a young man he had been apprenticed with the Australian: Windsor & Richmond Advertiser and continued his career in the media, working on a number of newspapers before returning to Windsor with the idea to start his own.

The first premises were located on the corner of George and Baker Streets, but many locals remember when they were situated at 200-202 George Street, Windsor and the Richmond office at 293 Windsor Street Richmond.

Fitzpatrick was both manager and editor of the newspaper until he sold it in 1899 and was also one of the founders of the Provincial Press Association, precursor of the Press Association.

He eventually focussed on his career as a politician but also authored a number of local history publications and books including two recollections of the Hawkesbury district.

Fitzpatrick sold the newspaper in 1899 to John Osborne who only kept the paper for six months before selling to Frank Campbell, a staff member with the Gazette since 1891.

The Gazette was operated by the Campbell family between 1899 and 1942. Frank was editor from 1900 until he was debilitated by a stroke in 1926.

Son Percy became editor from 1927 and managed with assistance of Frank's wife Catherine for a further ten years. A. T. 'Tom' Murphy became managing editor when Percy became ill in 1937.

Catherine passed away in 1939 and the paper was sold several years later.

The Hawkesbury Carrier & Courier was a free newspaper which was established in 1933 by Ernest Shoobridge Carr, with circulation in the Hawkesbury as well as Riverstone and Blacktown.

In 1938 Max G. Day and Bernard Byrnes purchased the newspaper and changed its name to the Hawkesbury Courier.

With rising costs during World War II, the Gazette and Courier joined forces in 1942 and the Hawkesbury Consolidated Press was formed.

The Hawkesbury Herald formed in 1902 under the management of William H. Pinkstone and Frederick Collison.

It was acquired from the current proprietor Mr F. B. Hands by Hawkesbury Consolidated Press in 1945.

The Hawkesbury Courier has been a free newspaper in the district for many years.

Some years ago, Hawkesbury Library Service sponsored the digitisation of local Hawkesbury newspapers including the Windsor & Richmond Gazette.

The Gazette covering 1888 to 1961, can be accessed for free, along with hundreds of other Australian titles, via Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/

The Windsor & Richmond Gazette was renamed the Hawkesbury Gazette in the 1980s and for a short time, also appeared twice weekly.

It ran uninterrupted in the district from 1888, until COVID exploded into our lives several months ago. Following a challenging time, the newspaper has thankfully reappeared, to once again, report on the doings of the local Hawkesbury community.