■ Former Daily News reporter/sub-editor Fran Silk looks back at her family connections to the newspaper which stretch back almost a century.
THE history of the Tweed
Daily News is inseparable from that of my family. The printer’s ink in our veins runs deep, both in production and editorial.
I worked at the paper as a reporter, sub-editor and columnist from 1992 to 2006 before joining Tweed Shire Council to work on council’s newsletter, the Tweed Link.
I’m now council’s media officer.
My time at the Daily News is but a blip on the Silk timeline with this newspaper, spanning three generations.
My grandfather Stephen Silk (1896-1970) moved to Murwillumbah in 1919 from his hometown of Molong in the Central West (via Inverell) to start with the paper as works manager of the Linotype department (part of the print department).
Stephen was in charge of this department all of his working life and was renowned for his unequalled knowledge of the mechanics of newspaper production and for his devotion to his job, especially during the war years when the paper operated with a minimum of staff.
A champion billiards player, Stephen was also a keen judge of horseflesh and was the special racing writer for the Daily News under the name of “Trackman” for many years.
My father, Peter, joined the company at 15 in 1946 as an apprentice Linotype operator and worked there for 41 years.
Myself and my three siblings Colin, Geoff and Kathleen, often visited the cavernous Daily News building in Church Ln, Murwillumbah, with our patient Dad on weekends, marvelling at the giant rolls of newsprint next to the printing press he was repairing. Even today, I can conjure up the industrial smell of ink.
Other family members who worked there included my uncle, Brian Silk, my great-aunt, the formidable Annie Nelson and my mother, Robyn (nee Baird) who moved from Sydney to take up a position as a cadet journalist at the Daily News in the early 1960s. She also later worked there as a sub-editor in the 1980s.
More recently, my late husband Michael Patterson also worked at the Tweed
Newspaper Company for a number of years as the editor of the Gold Coast Mail and other community titles.
While it’s unlikely any more generations of my family will work at the Daily
News, my son Hamish certainly sold a few while working at the Murwillumbah Newsagency n his gap year in 2017. And he continues to sells newspapers in a similar job in Brisbane.
We can always reminisce about Hamish appearing as Harry Potter in a photo story as a child, my daughter Amelia as a child model for a back to school feature and sons Stuart and Lachlan appearing on the front page of the Tweed
Valley Times as silhouettes on a flooded road.
They’re following in the footsteps of their mother and aunt, Kathleen, who variously appeared in a back to school photo in primary school and later on, eating packets of chips in a tree in dodgy ‘70s clothes.
Thanks to the Daily News for all these precious memories.
Thanks also for the research into my family’s association with the paper which was provided by former Tweed Daily News historian, Di Millar.
FUN TIMES: Tweed Daily News linotype operator Peter Silk with one of the other winners of a novelty completion at one of the many fun Daily News Christmas parties at the beach.
AT WORK: Fran Silk working away at the South Tweed office.
TRACKMAN: Stephen "Trackman" Silk was the Tweed Daily News' works manager of the linotype department.