Alicia Pidgeon with one of the copies of the old South Burnett Times rescued from the archives

October 13, 2020

When the South Burnett Times suddenly announced earlier this year that it would “stop the presses” and go digital-only, the thoughts of many local residents turned to the history locked away in the newspaper’s archives which they feared could be lost.

Copies of old newspapers archived when the Collyer family owned the paper through to the days of APN and News Corp ownership were just sitting on dusty old shelves.

Rumours abounded the old newspapers were going to be dumped.

Volunteers from the Nanango History Room were given permission to take the bound copies from the South Burnett Times’ archives but this left literally thousands of copies of “returns” (ie. newspapers returned unsold to the SBT from newsagencies) which had been collected over the years.

Some of these were required to fill in gaps in the Nanango History Room collection, but that still left many, many copies of old newspapers detailing the history of the South Burnett.

Murgon businesswoman Alicia Pidgeon had been poring over these newspapers as she collated a history of rugby league in the South Burnett.

She was heartbroken at the thought they could be lost when she knew there would be people in the community eager to get their hands on a copy.

Approaches were made to various groups that at first glance could have been interested in taking on the old newspapers as a project.

However, no one came forward.

Alicia was then given permission to “rescue” what she could.

Over a period of weeks, she loaded up her vehicle and trailer and transferred the duplicates from Kingaroy to a vacant shop in Murgon where volunteers have been sorting through them.

“I just didn’t want to see them dumped,” she told southburnett.com.au

“I want to see them go to someone who appreciates them.”

The newspapers are now being offered to the public via Facebook in return for a small donation to the Nanango History Room.

Alicia and the Nanango History Room volunteers would love to see the South Burnett Times’ archive digitised so it would be available for future generations online on a website such as Trove or something similar.

But they have estimated the cost of achieving this would be at least $30,000.

Any donations received through the Old Papers Project will be put towards this digitisation project.

So if you’d like a copy of the paper which published your birth notice, the time you won that sporting award, your high school triumphs or maybe your wedding photo … this is your one and only opportunity!

Alicia has asked that people only contact her via a Facebook page that she has set up for the purpose.

But there’s urgency in her request, too.

The shop where the spare copies are currently being stored in Murgon has been leased, and now the newspapers have to find a new home within the next four weeks.

So you will have to act quickly to save that treasured memory!

Bundles of old copies of the South Burnett Times in Murgon … waiting to find a new home (Photo: Alicia Pidgeon)

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

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