History: Our Early Days


  September 14, 1969. The Observer was established as the Sunday Observer by transport magnate Gordon Barton (pictured below). Sold at milk bars for 12 cents a copy, the first issues were co-printed at three suburban printeries: Peter Isaacson at Prahran, Progress Press and Waverley Offset Printers. A Goss Urbanite press, imported from England, was installed at Fisherman's Bend later in the year,

  A weekly feature in the Observer was the colour comics section, starting as an eight-page liftout. The comic strips included Dick Tracy, Big Ben Bolt, Mickey Mouse, Rick O'Shaw, Scamp, Johnny Hazard, The Flintstones, Prince Valiant, Hi and Lois, Donald Duck, Alley Oop, Brenda Starr Reporter, Pogo, Tarzan, Dennis The Menace, Yogi Bear, Nancy, Bugs Bunny.

  September 28, 1969. The Observer brought Sunday morning reporting of the VFL Grand Final to Melbourne for the first time. Richmond 12.13 (85) d Carlton 8.12 (60).


  September 29. Sunday Observer trials another of its full-colour front pages, which was a new development in Melbourne newspapers. At the daily Sun News-Pictorial and The Herald, any colour pages had to be pre-printed days earlier at Herald Gravure Printers. This copy of the Sunday Observer sold well as it featured the Australian visit of Pope Paul.

  October 11. The Observer launches the first issue of Sunday Review, later to be known as The Review, then Nation Review. The first ad for the Sunday Review appeared in the Sunday Observer. 


  November 1. Cover price of the Observer rises from 12 cents to 15 cents.


  January 20. Jobsons Investment Digest has a front-page headline 'Gordon Barton's Press crumbles'. Journalist Stuart Golding had this 2500-word report.

  March 7. Gordon Barton publishes his final edition of the Sunday Observer. (Maxwell Newton opened the Melbourne Observer on March 21.) Editorial team members in the final edition included Richard Nelson, Richard Zachariah, Brenda Marshall, Phil West, Michael Leunig (cartoonist), J C Horsfall, James Hannan, Don Whittington, Chris Reeves, David Martin, Peter Hamilton, Freda Irving, Gabrielle Hartley, Sheila Sibley, Ray Drew (photographer), Fr David Piper, Ron Eden, Greg and Grae (comic strip 'Iron Outlaw'), Nancy Cato (Horizons kids page), Mick Dwyer (motoring), Frank Doherty (wine), Kevin Childs, Barbara Bishop (films), Alan Marshall, Peter Pearson (greyhounds0< Peter Wharton (trots), Harry Beitzel, 'Jessa' (Alex Jesaulenko), Frank O'Brien, 'Peeping Pete' (Vic Beitzel).


  June 4. Maxwell Newton talks to Ash Long. Interview published in Farrago.




  February 7. When the Black Saturday fires hit Victoria, causing the deaths of 173 people, the Melbourne Observer immediately commenced publication of a free, weekly newspaper, The Phoenix, for the residents of the recovery and reconstruction area. We gave away more than $1.3 million of free advertising to local businesses over the 18 months of this set-time project. The Phoenix was entirely funded by Local Media Pty Ltd, publishers of the Melbourne Observer. 


  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Melbourne Observer newspaper is circulated across Victoria every week. It was established by transport magnate Gordon Barton in September 1969 as a Sunday newspaper, Melbourne's first. He ran the paper for 18 months, with a $1.5 million loss, and he went on to publish the Sunday Review, later known as The Review, then Nation Review.
Maxwell Newton started his version of the Melbourne Observer in 1971, two weeks after Barton closed his enterprise. About 1977, after financial pressures, Peter Isaacson purchased the Melbourne Observer for $425,000. He ran the weekly paper until 1989. The Melbourne Observer was resurrected in 2002 as a midweek publication by Victorian publisher Ash Long. It has achieved a readership of more than 55,000. The content sources include original columnists and contributors as well as material aggregated from other influential media sources such as social media, newspapers and on line.


Local Media Pty Ltd (ABN 67 096 680 063)

Head Office (same address for the past 23 years):

30 Glen Gully Road, Eltham, Vic 3095

Postal Address: PO Box 1278, Research, Vic 3095

Phone: 1800 231 311 Fax: 1800 231 312

International Phone: +61 3 9439 9927.

International Fax: +61 3 9431 6247


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