The first newspaper published in Nowra was called The Shoalhaven Telegraph.
It was published in 1879 from the office in Kinghorne Street, by Joseph Weston and the four-page issue sold for sixpence (5c).
The typesetter of the day used a composing stick, picking up one letter at a time from his case of type, adjusting the spacing when he came to the end of the line in a painstaking task.
Although Weston was the proprietor of the Telegraph, he was busy with at Kiama and his brother-in-law John Maclean was the manager and editor.
Weston and Charles Isaac Watson were major players in the early days of the newspaper industry of this district - fierce competitors who often established one paper against another.
Weston started the Kiama Independent in 1863, while Watson was the founder of the Shoalhaven press, establishing The News, Shoalhaven at Terrara in 1867.
After Weston started the Telegraph, Watson provided an opposition paper called the Nowra Colonist, and then ventured north to Broughton Creek to establish The Mail in 1880.
The Scottish born Maclean eventually took over the Telegraph, and he established the Broughton Creek Register and South Coast Farmer (forerunner of the South Coast Register) which was first printed on April 3, 1886 and continued under his name for nine years.
The Telegraph's name was a significant one, for its establishment coincided with the bringing of telegraphic communications to Nowra.
With George Roberts (formerly of Terara) as operator of the Morse Recorder, the telegraph service was provided from premises in Junction Street.
It was next door to the post office store conducted by Mayor Jeremiah Green, and he took the opportunity to send the first telegram - to Postmaster General, Saul Samuel.
The subject of a new post/telegraph office was one of the big issues in Nowra during 1879, and there was intense rivalry with Terara which had applied for a similar building.
David Hyam offered to erect a suitable building that could be rented for £40 a month, but the Government would not be hurried.
By the end of the year local MP Thomas Garrett was able to report that £800 would be placed on the next estimates for the building.
Another topic occupying the minds of residents was the construction of the bridge over the Shoalhaven River, which was under way.
Its location was pinpointed as being at the junction of properties of Mrs Halcrow and William Ratnett, and one-third of a mile up the river from the Bunberra Ferry.
Apart from its obvious future benefits, the project would be of benefit to several locals.
Walter Elyard tendered to provide hardwood in large quantities, while several large punts were constructed on Reuben Greentree's slip, to be used in placing the bridge cylinders in position.
Initially published on a Thursday morning, the Telegraph changed to Wednesday in April 1886, and was published both Wednesday and Saturday from 1895.
This continued until 1900 when the paper was purchased by Henry Rauch from Milton, and it reverted to Wednesday only.
Rauch later bought the Shoalhaven News which published on Saturdays, and the two were printed from the Junction Street office (now Shoalhaven Commercial Printers).
The last issue of the Telegraph was published on Wednesday, September 29, 1937 when Henry Rauch retired, and his sons incorporated it into the News.
Well-known historical author Alan Clark is currently working on his next publication, "Delivering The News: Old-style newspaper people in the Nowra district", where Charles Isaac Watson will be one of the early newspaper men profiled.
Information Alan Clark and Shoalhaven Historical Society.
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