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Panpa Bulletin : April 2007
The day Max Newton sold a John Jeffery (Jack) and Arthur Bradley had both settled into the family news- paper business by the time of their father's death. They were married with young families and they worked well together. Keith Bradley, youngest child of Jack, wrote: "One of the reasons for their suc- cess has probably been the close-knit relationship between two brothers whose talents were complementary." Arthur was the "gregarious, outgoing one who had the business brain" while Jack was the quiet, reserved type. Yet Jack was the one who continued the tradition of their father by becoming heavily involved in the activities of the provincial press associations and travelling widely overseas. He was the NSW Country Press Association president in 1951-53 and was made a life member in 1968, he was president of the Australian Provincial Press Association in 1965-68, and an active mem- ber of the Commonwealth Press Union. He also served on the Australian Press Council from 1977-1983. Arthur was the manager who helped initiate new enterprises, such as the Barmedman Banner, or upgrade newly acquired but rundown papers, such as the Cooma-Monaro Express. Jack and Arthur Bradley adopted a con- servative financial philosophy in extending the newspaper network throughout the Queanbeyan-Cooma-Braidwood districts, along the South Coast and in the south- west, centred on Cootamundra. All of the acquisitions were internally funded, except when they borrowed money to buy the Goss press for the Temora Independent in 1949. In 1949, the second-generation Bradleys entered a partnership with Lial James (Jim) Woods, an employee for 21 years. It was the beginning of a 46-year partnership in 10 newspaper and printing businesses throughout southern NSW. In November 1949 the Bradley family assisted Woods to buy the Crookwell Gazette from John Robert Winning. The Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme was a boon for Cooma and district, but the Cooma-Monaro Express was find- ing in 1955 that it could not cope with the flood of new work into the commercial printing department as well as producing the newspaper. Proprietor Wallace Craigie remembered that the Bradleys had paid tribute at a CPA conference to their accountant, and con- tacted Auswild for advice. Soon Auswild told Jack Bradley that he had bought the Cooma paper, which was "in such a mess", and the Bradleys joined the Auswilds in establishing the Monaro Publishing Company (June 1, 1955). By 1964 the Express was able to lay claim to being the largest non-daily newspaper circulating in southern NSW, with a total of 9000 copies being produced in three weekly editions each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In November 1978 the co-proprietor of the Express, Jeffrey Edwin (Jeff) Bradley (b. 1945), a third-generation member of the family, became the managing editor. He later resigned to become an investment adviser in Canberra. In November 1986 the Cooma-Monaro Express and the Monaro Publishing Company were acquired by Southern Publishers Pty Limited, which Macquarie Publications Pty Ltd of Dubbo had bought three years earlier from the Bradley and Woods families. Macquarie, of which John Armati was the principal, now had 40 newspapers in coun- try NSW. Jeff, Keith and John Bradley and the Auswilds sold the Express to Macquarie after the Fairfax arm of the Queanbeyan Age partnership had vetoed the proposed pur- chase of the Express. The Fairfax group had a substantial interest in Macquarie. The Bradleys began a significant de- velopment in 1963 when they bought the Cootamundra Daily Herald and used it as the core part of their newspaper busi- ness in the south-west. They acquired it on September 15, 1963, from Pat Pinkstone, widowed five years earlier upon the death of Harry Pinkstone, a third-generation mem- ber of the founding family. In June 1964 the new shareholders of the Cootamundra Herald Pty Limited resolved to change the company's name to J.A. Bradley (Holdings) Pty Limited. Meanwhile, the Bradleys needed an editor with a strong local background and knowledge; Barry Clarke was recommended. Clarke had served his apprenticeship at the Herald and had worked for 13 years with the Pinkstones. He and his wife Marie had bought the Harden-Murrumburrah Express on December 1, 1963, after the death of the proprietor in a road smash. In a two-way deal, the Bradleys bought the Harden paper on December 31, 1964, and in- stalled Clarke as editor of their Cootamundra paper from January 1, 1965. Upon the depar- ture of managing editor Bob Jeffs, Clarke was promoted to that position on June 28, 1965, and filled it for nearly 32 years. October 1980, the Bradleys bought the Boorowa News from Colin Bruce and en- tered into a partnership with Clarke and lo- cal farmer, Derrick Mason, to run it; and in December they bought the Henty Observer from Laurie and Iris Kable and renamed it the Eastern Riverina Observer, circulating it in Henty, Culcairn, Lockhart and Holbrook. Barry Clarke was given managerial and editorial oversight of all these papers, as well as the Southern Weekly Magazine. The Bradleys gradually transferred the print- ing of their south-west newspapers to Cootamundra once they installed a web offset press there in 1977. In 1969, Maxwell Newton paid Howard Wilson about $100,000 for the Nowra and Shoalhaven News in July 1969 and Colin Lord $110,000 for the opposition paper, the Nowra Leader three months later. He merged the two mastheads on 3 November 1969 to produce the bi-weekly Nowra News Leader (and incorporated the Milton and Ulladulla Times from April 1970). Lord promptly bought the masthead of the South Coast Register, Berry, and entered the lists to wage the battle of Nowra, which Lord won. The happenings on the South Coast did not go unobserved by the Bradleys. In July 1971 Jim Woods heard that Newton might be interested in selling off his south coast newspapers. Newton said he wanted to sell the mastheads of the Moruya, Bega and Eden papers for $22,000 but he wanted the money by 11am the next day, Part two of Rod Kirkpatrick's chronicle of the Bradley family's newspaper dynasty and its fortunes. 38 PANPA Bulletin March 2007 history