From the first edition on February 20, 1963 the Blue Mountains Gazette has been an integral part of our unique community.
In 60 years the Gazette has grown from a small paper with a limited circulation into the 35,000+ plus copies distributed every week from Lapstone to Mount Victoria today.
Founding editor Mick Ticehurst, who retired from the paper in 2013 and died in 2017, began his association with the Mountains in 1958 when he and his wife Anne moved to Faulconbridge from the city.
When the Springwood Sentinel newspaper was closed down in 1962, they saw an opportunity to launch their own paper, the Lower Mountains Circle.
In partnership from the start, Anne sold the ads, delivered the papers and looked after the books. Mick wrote the stories, usually at night and on weekends while he continued to commute to Burwood for his full-time job as a linotype operator.
In 1963, the Gazette was launched by a former mayor and alderman of the council, Jack Powell. It wasn't long before the Gazette suggested amalgamating with the Circle to better compete against two rival publications published by Cumberland Press.
As Mr Ticehurst put it: "Being young and impressionable, we agreed. I was so inexperienced that I didn't bother to find out how much money the firm had owed but thought it couldn't be in too bad a position as it had not been going all that long."
He was wrong. The company had significant debts and it would be some years before Mr Ticehurst and his business partner, compositor Terry Booker, were completely in the black.
In the mid-1960s, Mr Ticehurst decided to have the Gazette printed at Hawkesbury Press at Windsor instead of in Springwood. It was cheaper, quicker and more efficient and it turned the paper's fortunes around.
The managing director of Hawkesbury Press, Max Day, could see a future for the Gazette and arranged finance for Ticehurst and Booker to buy a substantial share in Mountain Press Pty Ltd, a new company established to publish the Gazette.
"Along with the other 30-odd newspapers that had gone broke in the Blue Mountains before us, we came from having one foot in the grave to at least having a future," Mr Ticehurst said.
Advertising grew, the size of the papers increased and he could employ more staff.
In 1982, Rural Press bought Hawkesbury Press, giving the Gazette a new partner.
The paper became part of the Fairfax stable when it merged with Rural Press in late 2006. It later became part of the Nine Entertainment empire before the ownership changed again to Australian Community Media (ACM) in 2019.
While its ownership may have changed over the years, the Gazette's commitment to a range of community events has stayed the same - from sponsorship of the Blue Mountains Music Festival to Blue Mountains business awards, to the promotion of festivals up and down the Mountains.
While there are many factors that have made the Gazette unique, the strength of its letters pages have been the envy of many mastheads over the decades. While this has diminished slightly as people have migrated to social media to 'have their say', Blue Mountains residents still debate the issues of the day via the Gazette's letters pages each week.
The Gazette's office has been located in three different locations in Macquarie Road, Springwood since 1963.
It moved to a new office at 278 Macquarie Road (opposite the railway underpass) in 2021.
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