Old newspapers stashed behind imported mirror
Otago businesswoman Penny Rogers was thrilled when she recently discovered several old English newspapers tucked behind the back of a mirror in her Wanaka furniture store.
Rogers sources antique furniture from auction rooms in England and Europe and sells from Rustication, on Anderson Road.
‘‘It was just a big white mirror, nothing fancy. You wouldn’t have known it was old at all. It was just a lucky find,’’ Rogers says of the faded copies of The Sporting Life (June 7, 1865), The Times (May 30, 1865), and, the more modern The Daily Telegraph (February 14, 1964).
Rogers and her customers have been having a giggle over the headlines and advertisements, with the 1865 newspapers targeting people with moustaches and liver complaints, or seeking a sea bathing experience, a dog or gun.
Rogers contacted The Wanaka Mirror to share her discoveries after she found out the Stuff-owned newspaper would be closing on June 22.
The Wanaka Mirror is a sister-publication to the Queens- town Mirror (founded 1987), which evolved into three weekly publications in Central Otago, Wanaka and Queenstown in 2014.
Despite declining circulations, The Times, founded in 1785, and The Daily Telegraph (founded 1855, now simply The Telegraph) have survived the present cycle of media industry disruption and are still printing papers.
The Sporting Life, founded in 1859, closed in 1998 and is now a website only.
Rogers said she was sad to hear the three Mirrors were closing after just 31 years but felt encouraged that other newspapers were still available in Wanaka.
‘‘I still love the ODT. Sometimes I don’t have time to read it but I feel lost if I haven’t got the newspaper,’’ she said.
Rogers also reads The Upper Clutha Messenger and The Wanaka Sun, and is a fan of printed line adverts.
She posts on Facebook, usually the Upper Clutha Trading Post page, because it reaches people in nearby towns where the Mirrors are not distributed
‘‘But people want to read a thing they can hold, I think. If the Mirror is not here, that’s sad,’’ she said.
Rogers is originally from Gloucestershire, England.
She has an honours degree in history, modern art, design and film, went to a cooking school and a secretarial school and has even sold fonts to printing firms.
‘‘I basically did everything to make money while travelling and I have not stopped,’’ she said.
Rogers decided to come to New Zealand while visiting Australia in 1984.
She’d met Wanaka’s future deputy mayor, Calum MacLeod, and his future wife, Andrea, at the Mt Buller ski resort near Melbourne
The MacLeods went on to New Zealand and founded Cinema Paradiso, Rogers visited and worked in Wanaka a few times and came back in 2008 with her children and dogs.
‘‘Wanaka is full of people like me, ex-ski staff who ended up here for good,’’ Rogers said.
Penny Rogers reads an 1865 newspaper.