Saturday, May 25, 2024

Knowles first with the news

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Jane Waugh, left, and Reay Neben holding a copy of the Howick District News at the Howick Historical Village. Times photo Wayne Martin

Gerald Hinton Knowles arrived in New Zealand with his wife Rosina in 1913 on the ship Ballarat.

Almost 40 years later he would start Howick’s first post-war newspaper, the Howick District News: a source of all news related to councils, boards and clubs in the region, becoming, as Howick Historian Alan La Roche says, “the glue” for local organisations.

Gerald’s great granddaughter Jane Waugh remembers him as a tall man, academic and fascinated by a wide range of topics and inventions.

“As an old man, he always had a range of half-fixed clocks awaiting attention and a jar of blackball lollies by his elbow,” Jane says.

Jane and Times Media’s owner Reay Neben took a trip to the archives at the Howick Historical Village to look at old copies of the Howick District News, ultimately finding some from 1951 though it appears to have operated from 1947.

Gerald’s eccentric character can be seen in the pages of the paper he was the editor of from, at least, 1951 to 1954.

“In 1951, January 18, he notes as editor that the paper ‘is and always has been a completely impartial publication, without any political, social or religious bias; ready to publicise and assist any worthwhile logical objective,'” Jane says.

“Yet every editorial page is unambiguously headed up ‘What The Editor Thinks,’ and we can read him holding forth [without holding back] on a wide range of topics that he espoused a very decided opinion on!”

Gerald died in 1975 when Jane was 13 but his writings live on within the Howick Historical Village.

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