Re­port card on past 50 years

Midland Reporter - - News - Sarah Brookes

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.

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