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Panpa Bulletin : February 2007
The little paper that was PANPA Bulletin February 2007 36 HISTORY Seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care, the Manly Daily continues to deliver the news its readers want, writes ROD KIRKPATRICK The Manly ferries used to declare that Manly was “seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care”. That I can recall that slogan gives clues to my age, but I am not nearly so old as the Manly Daily, which last year celebrat- ed 100 years of publication. It began on July 28, 1906, as what could be described as Sydney’s frst commuter newspaper. Boys handed it out free to pas- sengers about to board the ferry to Manly and it was delivered to homes and busi- nesses in Manly. The frst issue, a single sheet, printed front and back, described itself as “A Present from Manly”. The paper was designed to tell visitors to Manly “where to go, how to go, what to see, what to eat and drink, and how to enjoy themselves to the best advantage in the time at their disposal”. The Manly Daily declared: “This little paper is as yet only an infant, but, like Manly, it will grow.” Today, the Manly Daily is delivered from Manly to Palm Beach, encompassing 478 delivery routes for walkers, delivering to more than 84,000 households and 7000 businesses. The man with the bright idea for this daily news and advertising sheet was an English- born printer, Edward Lincoln, who began his newspaper career in England but migrated to Australia in 1887 for health reasons. Lincoln could not print the paper initially at his own Manly printery, which had only a small platen machine. The frst edition, of 1000 copies, was printed by Batson and Co, of 91 Clarence Street, Sydney. Most of the double-sided 22cm by 29cm single sheets were distributed at Circular Quay to passen- gers boarding the Manly ferry, while some were taken to Manly and distributed there. Albert “Muff” Smith, the newspaper’s frst delivery boy, said in 1984 that his father worked in the Clarence Street printery that printed the frst issue of the Manly Daily. He had arrived one day on the Manly wharf with a parcel of newspapers and had asked Albert to take it around to the Daily offce in a laneway on the ocean beach. “I took the parcel to Mr Lincoln and he said, ‘By Jove, Albert, we are going to make history today.’ He said, ‘This is the new paper.’” Soon, the newspaper’s success led Lincoln to establish the Daily’s own printing plant in Manly. In August 1907, Lincoln moved the Daily to new premises and acquired more up-to- date equipment. He also took over another local paper, the weekly North Shore and Manly Times, which he bought from its founder, William Gocher. In 1908, he needed the fnancial backing of one of his wife’s relatives, George Rob- inson, but by early 1909 Lincoln was again the sole proprietor, although Robinson continued to assist with the newspaper’s production. The success of the Manly Daily continued until the impact of World War I was felt, with the cost of newsprint rising to six or seven times the pre-war rates. Lincoln considered closing the paper, but at a public meet- ing the local community guaranteed its support. The Daily survived the war years by reducing the paper’s size and by temporar- ily introducing a cover price of one penny. In 1920, Lincoln retired from the busi- ness, selling to a syndicate involving Henry Leppard, Alexander McDonald and Josiah Reynolds (Joe) Trenerry, the publisher of the outspoken Manly Free Press. Leppard retired within a year and McDonald died soon after. His widow, Margaret, gave Trenerry great assistance in the years ahead. Lincoln died on July 2, 1927, aged 65. Trenerry closed his Free Press and per- severed with the Daily. John Morcombe wrote in the centenary issue of The Daily that “while Edward Lincoln was the proud parent of the Manly Daily, Joe Trenerry was its guiding star through the newspaper’s teenage years”. Under Trenerry’s ownership and editor- ship, the Daily advanced strongly through the early 1920s. A historian said: “He used his pen to some purpose through the agency of his paper, the Manly Daily, and woe betide any proposal that in his opinion was not in the best interests of the ratepayer.” In 1922, Trenerry initiated the Manly Daily Song competition, in two parts. The frst part was for the lyrics (Herbert Bailey’s Manly by the Sea won) and the second part, launched the following year, was to put music to the winning lyric. A series of concerts was held before it was decided that Nicholas Robins had written the best music. More composition followed and Trenerry took the Manly Daily The Manly Daily building in July 1968 during renovations
November December 2006