Report card on past 50 years
FOR more than half a century, the Kalamunda Reporter has been on the beat telling the stories of locals.
Started by Ken Utting, it first hit the streets on July 14, 1962, and in 1978 combined to form the Midland-Kalamunda Reporter.
The fortnightly paper cost threepence or five shillings for a yearly subscription and was an integral part of the community, with stories on lost keys, missing pets and the resignation of librarians regularly making front page news.
Searching old editions is a window into a different world but many of the issues pertinent half a century ago are still current today. The threat of bushfires, kerb collections, council shenanigans, sporting facilities, hoons, footpaths and the need for activities to keep bored teenagers off the streets still get residents talking today. But a lot has changed. In the ’60s Lesmurdie residents were impatient over delays in installing telephones. Fast-forward to 2018 and many residents are impatient over NBN installation delays.
The ’60s brought a request for a Kalamunda hospital, the Kalamunda Olympic pool was under construction and there was a push for a fast public transport service to Perth. The Shire banned the dumping of old refrigerators or cupboards, or anything with a door for that matter, after reports of children suffocating after being accidentally locked inside.
Deeply provincial, the social jottings covered news of women’s groups meeting to forget their home cares for a brief time to indulge in talk of worldly affairs, where locals were holidaying, who was in hospital and who was moving.
Letters to the editor provide a riveting glimpse into changing attitudes, including one from a father outraged at the sight of teenagers cuddling at a local dance.
Other folks put pen to paper kindly asking Forrestfield residents to keep their cows off the road.
But the bread and butter of newspapers has always been hard news.
Even 50 years ago, the looming threat of fires along the Darling Scarp were real and ’62 promised to be the worst on record.
Two female golfers were left shaken after a quiet game of golf turned deadly when a bullet whistled past them. It was reported it was likely migrants not acquainted with the law protecting wildlife. Residents were reportedly living in fear of the hunter, however due to shortage of police at Kalamunda the offender was never apprehended.
When the Midland-Kalamunda Reporter started in 1978, Midland was just beginning its renaissance.
In 1980, retailers opposed support at the Shire of Swan for the proposed Swan City Shopping Centre. Business owners said would be the death knell for the traditional business heart along Great Northern Highway. The area now resembles a ghost town and its future looks bleak with plans to redevelop Midland Oval into a residential and commercial precinct.
But the local paper covered the lighter side of news, including Midland allegedly becoming known for its “lovely girls”.
In the ’80s, one of the world’s most outrageous bands, KISS, touched locals when the owner of Anastazi Shoe Boutique received an unusual request to repair a pair of platform sequined boots as the band embarked on its first Australian tour.
How the Midland and Kalamunda region changes in decades to come remains to be seen. Rest assured, Community News will still be there to report it.
The second edition of the Kalamunda Reporter.