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Panpa Bulletin : August 2006
ing and so did the shareholders in the companies concerned. One of the most important reasons for the merger was to obtain Stock Exchange listing of the company's shares as soon as possible. With the process under way, the Dunn directors still worried that moves towards establishing a holding company were in danger of lapsing into too general a con- sideration of values with a con- sequential "bogging-down" of all negotiations. The North Queens- land Co. did not stay in the nego- tiations. The Dunns wanted to direct investigations towards consider- ing a specific proposal. Lex Dunn successfully proposed a board of 12, comprising the seven existing members of PNQ Pty. Ltd. (the Dunns), two nominated by the Ipswich board (the Stephensons, Parkinsons and Kippens), two from Mackay (the Mannings), and one from Warwick (the Irwins). By December 1966, the War- wick Newspaper Pty. Ltd. - the Irwin family, with roots deeply planted in theWarwick press - was happy to go ahead. Seven months later the Newspaper Investigation Group, having studied the profits of the proposed partners, con- cluded that the share breakdown in the holding company would be: Dunns, 59.9 per cent; Mackay, 18.7 per cent; Ipswich, 15.0 per cent; and Warwick, 6.4 per cent. It was agreed that the simplest and cheapest method of achiev- ing the merger was one which re- sulted in PNQ Pty. Ltd. (formerly A. Dunn and Co. Pty. Ltd.) becom- ing the holding company of the group because this (a) saved the formation of another company with attendant costs involved; (b) meant that fewer shares had to be transferred; and (c) incurred less stamp duty. In effect, the resultant holding company was the third title for A. Dunn and Co. Pty. Ltd. Techni- cally, the Dunns - whose news- papers were dominant in total circulation (with 60.37 per cent, compared with Ipswich 17.25 per cent, Mackay 14.52 per cent, and Warwick 7.86 per cent) - bought out the other companies, having first changed the name of their company. On March 25, 1968, at the of- fices of Arthur J. Morris & Co. in Queen Street, Brisbane, the hold- ing company's board met for the first time, appointing as ad- ditional directors C.M. Manning (of Mackay), G.S. Stephenson and C.W.N. Aylward (of Ipswich), and E. Hollingworth (Warwick). They tabled offers from all the share- holders of Mackay, Ipswich and Warwick to transfer to PNQ all the shares in their companies in ex- change for shares in PNQ. These offers were formally ac- cepted and arrangements for a dinner on the evening of April 1 were confirmed. At the next direc- tors' meeting, on Monday, April 1, 1968, Alexander Gordon Dunn, a son of the Dunn patriarch Andrew Dunn, resigned as chairman and the third-generation took over: Rowland James (Rowley) Dunn. When the celebration dinner was held that evening at the old Lennon's Hotel in George Street, Brisbane, the guests were share- holders and their spouses, and those associated with the merg- er. One shareholder remarked: "Queensland newspaper history has been made today." (In later years, the surviving family mem- bers would meet for dinner on April 1 each year.) The six families were hardly un- known to one another. They had been working together at state and national Country Press level for more than half a century, and the Dunns and Irwins had experi- enced nearly 18 years of working side by side, on the Warwick Daily News (1919-1936). Lex Dunn and Clarrie Manning, certainly did not enter the merger blindly. They had discussed news- papers and had found they shared similar ideas. Each of the families shared a commitment to advanc- ing the community through the pages of the newspaper and en- hancing the community through their own personal involvement. Two members of the families had served as parliamentarians for a total of 16 years, four mem- bers had served as mayors of their cities for a total of 23 years, and six had served as aldermen for a total of more than 80 years. The families also shared, to a greater or lesser degree, involvement with their church and adherence to the ethics of honesty, integrity, sobriety and a concern for the un- derdog. Now the pioneering provincial press families had come together in larger numbers and corporate- ly to stand united against the foe: the various metropolitan media barons, especially Rupert Murdo- ch and Sir Frank Packer. The Ips- wich families - the Stephensons, Parkinsons and Kippens - had been in partnership since 1877 and third-generation members were now serving on the board and working on The Queensland Times. Both the Mannings and the Ir- wins were under daily executive control of third-generation mem- bers of their respective dynas- ties, and the Mackay board was chaired by a second-generation Manning. The Mannings had run newspapers for 78 years - at Glad- stone (1890-1910) and Mackay (1910-68) -and the Irwins went back 101 years at Warwick. The Dunns had been newspa- per proprietors for 77 years, in Maryborough (since 1891), Rock- hampton (1911), Warwick (1914- 1936) and Toowoomba (1922). The Dunn, Manning and Irwin families, in that order, would pro- vide the three chief executives of PNQ, from 1968 to 1988: Rowley Dunn, 1968-71; Clarrie Manning, 1971-1988; and Robert Holling- worth, 1988-89. The six families that had band- ed together to form PNQ received a swift reminder that the predator was, indeed, pawing at the gate. On 14 May 1968, within six weeks of the merger, Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd. bought the bi-weekly Gladstone Observer from the Mac- farlan interests. Margaret Ethel Macfarlan, the second wife of Colin William Buchanan Macfarlan (1887-1947), proprietor of The Observer for 25 years from 1922, had managed and edited the paper since his death in 1947. In 1959, her son- in-law and daughter, Colin and Carmel Brown, became working partners in the business. Murdo- ch beat several other contenders for The Observer, including PNQ and the Herald and Weekly Times Ltd. Macfarlan asked a high price and refused to budge. "They ap- proached me," she said. "I did not go seeking bids. If they wanted to buy, they had to be prepared to pay my price. Murdoch was the only one who was". Series concludes next issue. and dusted “I did not go seeking bids. If they wanted to buy, they had to be prepared to pay my price. Murdoch was the only one who was”. Staff of the Warwick Daily News in 1926 or 1927. august 2006 PANPA bULLETIN |55 HISTORY