The South Coast Register has a proud record of informing readers about local, community and sporting news. The founder was Scottish-born John Maclean, who migrated to Australia in 1862 with his parents. The family settled at Gerringong, and John gained an apprenticeship with the Kiama Independent newspaper.
His sister married Joseph Weston, whose family owned the Independent. In 1878, when Weston decided to establish the first newspaper based in Nowra, the Shoalhaven Telegraph, he sent 26-year-old Maclean to be manager and editor. In 1885, Maclean made plans to establish a paper at Broughton Creek in opposition to Charles I. Watson's Mail. He recruited Robert Bigg from the Independent who took much of the responsibility for running the paper.
Established in 1885, it was first published on April 3, 1886 as The Broughton Creek Register, Kangaroo Valley and South Coast Farmer and was based at Berry for 83 years. Maclean bought out the district's first paper, The Broughton Creek Mail, and with the change of town name, it became The Berry Register on November 29, 1890. During 1895 he sold the Register to Bigg.
W.P Stevens, who bought the Register in 1926, had plans for it to cover from Wollongong to Nowra. He took over the Kangaroo Valley Times and the Albion Park and Shellharbour Light, titles that were incorporated into the Berry paper, and renamed it The South Coast Register. His plans failed to come to fruition and it remained Berry/s weekly newspaper, in the hands of Bradley and Higgins, who bought it in 1935.
The face of the Shoalhaven press was changed in 1969 by Maxwell Newton, a former managing editor of the Australian Financial Review and the first managing editor of The Australian. Seeking to dominate the press scene at Nowra, Newton purchased the Nowra Leader and Shoalhaven & Nowra News mastheads, merging them into The News Leader.
Newton's mistake was to disregard the Register, but after he had disposed of the Nowra Leader, Colin Lord formed a company to make an offer for the Register. This was accepted, he moved it to Nowra where it was first published in November 1969. The Register and The News Leader were published in conjunction on Monday, Wednesday and Friday until February 1993 when The News Leader was incorporated into the Register, which became a tri-weekly. In 1996 the Register was bought by Rural Press, in 2007 Rural Press merged with Fairfax Media, in 2018 Fairfax Media merged with Nine and in 2019 Australian Community Media, the regional arm of Fairfax was sold to Antony Catalano and Alex Waislitz. The Register is published Wednesday and Friday, Shoalhaven & Nowra News on Friday and online at southcoastregister.com.au.