The first edition of The Northern Star in 1876.
The first edition of The Northern Star in 1876.

Change is inevitable, but it’s the same old story

AS WE scour through the hundreds of copies of The Northern Star printed since 1876 in preparation for the final print edition, a couple of things become apparent firstly, change is inevitable, but overwhelmingly, the desire to share stories remains as strong as ever.

Hundreds of people have been tasked over the years with putting words and photos on pages, and every one of them would have been as passionate about the end product as we are today.

Broadsheets have shrunk to tabloid size, classifieds and international news has moved from the front page to the back pages, and next week, The Northern Star will be delivered online and via a regional version of The Daily Telegraph.

More than a dozen short stories graced the front page of that first edition on May 13 among them; the announcement of a musical concert to be held at Lismore Public School on June 2, a piece declaring the arrival of a new solicitor, Mr EW Allingham, to the region, news the mullet were running at Ballina, and a story on the Free Dress League, a group tasked with protecting a woman’s right to wear comfortable clothes.

Indeed times have changed the mullet still run, solicitors come and go, women wear what they like, and the front page of The Northern Star on June 26, 2020, carried a single story on former magistrate David Heilpern fighting against “unjust” drug driving laws.

In introducing themselves to the community in 1876, those behind the “new” venture posted a little story on the front page, simply titled Ourselves.

It shared how the paper began and the difficulties associated with being “far removed from the commercial centre of this Colony” and said they strove to produce a “paper that will be acceptable to all classes”.

They declared their intention to “share in, the fortunes of the residents of this district” and to “advance their interests” and said: “We leave it to the public to decide whether the new “Star” shall become a bright particular one or not”.

On introducing themselves, they wrote: “No doubt many of the residents of the Richmond River district, on looking over the new venture we have taken the liberty of placing before them will feel inclined to paraphrase the words of an old writer, and say ‒ ‘Twinkle, twinkle little “Star,” how I wonder who you are?’”.

We hear the same questions today, “who are the people behind the Star?”.

The people writing the stories and taking the photos for TheNorthern Star next week will be the same people who are doing it this week, and last week, and last year, and we are as much a part of this community and as passionate about the stories as the people who first put ink to paper in 1876.

Farewell the final print edition, and mourn its loss as we too do, but the stories will still be told and the photos will continue to be taken, and we will continue to love our community as we always have.

So please continue to support our publication and help make the “new Star” shine bright.

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