By Roger Clark
THE first copy of the San Remo Times was printed on 7 February 1896. Published by T. C. Monger at San Remo for two years, the publishing company moved to Grantville on 9 December 1898.
The paper was then renamed The Western Port Times. It was printed every Thursday and distributed on Friday by morning coach and mail contractors.
The paper claimed a circulation through a large part of the surrounding districts: Archies Creek, Almurta, Bass, Bridge Creek, Cowes, Corinella, French Island, Glen Alvie, Glen Forbes, Inverloch, Jumbunna, Kilcunda, Newhaven, Lang Lang, Powlett, Queensferry, Rhyll, Ryanston, San Remo, Ventnor, Wonthaggi and Woodleigh.
In 1908 T. C. Monger sold the paper to the Sullivan Bros, who carried on the business until a disastrous fire destroyed all the printing machinery, equipment and printing office.
The Western Port Times ceased production in August 1910. It was situated on the site occupied by the Grantville Transaction Centre now and a new story board in the history walk in the Memorial Park reflects its early history on the site.
When The Waterline News was launched in 2014, I wrote in the preview edition:
GRANTVILLE & DISTRICT GETS ITS OWN VOICE
Grantville and District is to get its own voice with the launch of The Waterline News on September 15.
The Waterline News will cover the area from Lang Lang through Nyora, Loch, Kernot, The Gurdies, Pioneer Bay, Grantville, Corinella, French Island, Coronet Bay and Glen Forbes.
Little did I know at the time that Grantville had had its own voice, more than one hundred years earlier.
Knowledge of the existence of The Western Port Times only came to light after the start of the Bass Valley U3A Local History Group early this year.
I was invited by the Bass Valley U3A to start the group, which quickly attracted a small but extremely passionate group who have achieved a considerable amount in their first eight months.
One of the group’s first decisions was to establish a website to endure they could start documenting the rich history of the area. Grantville History was launched in April and whilst in its infancy has already started to create plenty of interest.
Points of interest
The group established a target area, and then developed a list of points of interest in each of the towns in their designated area. These are on the website, along with a number of other interesting articles already published.
The existence of the original Western Port Times was discovered early in the group’s search for materials. With the assistance of The Waterline News, the group decided to re-launch The Western Port Times as their monthly magazine.
The name was quickly registered and the first edition appeared on the website in May, 2018. At this stage it is only available on the website or by email subscription, sent to your inbox each month. The group is looking at trying to establish funding to have printed copies made available each month.
Grantville History Day
The U3A Local History Group is having a “Grantville History Day” – public open afternoon at the Grantville Hall on Saturday, October 6 from 1-4pm.
Members of the public are invited to come along and tell the group your stories of local history in the area. Bring along any photos, maps, documents or newspaper clippings that they may be able to scan, photo copy, or photograph and return to you.
The first edition of the reborn Western Port Times documented the official government gazetting of Grantville on Friday 20 September, 1872, which means the town will celebrate its 150th anniversary in September, 2022. That’s just four years away and the open day could be the start of the planning process for the big day.
You can register your interest in the development of rich history of the area by contacting the Local History group at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can subscribe to The Western Port Times and have it sent to your inbox each month, or follow the group’s activities at Grantville History.
Roger Clark is publisher of The Waterline News and The Western Port Times.