Rendelsham farmer Iain Stewart is proud to be the owner of a vital piece of Millicent history which is exactly 130 years old on Sunday. The descendant of pioneers is the custodian of a copy of the first edition of The Millicent Times. Mr Stewart has a keen interest in the region’s history and the near-mint condition of the colonial-era newspaper is among his most treasured possessions.
The news and views of Millicent and district appeared in print for the first time when shopkeeper Roland Campbell put out the first edition using an old press on July 11, 1891. Millicent has a living link with Mr Campbell as lifelong local Dawn Atkinson is his great granddaughter. She has spoken publicly with pride about the achievements of her ancestor which included the launch of The Millicent Times.
Ms Atkinson was just an infant when he died in 1942 but was present at the diamond wedding celebrations of her great grandparents at Naracoorte in that year. Her great grandmother Bethea Campbell handstitched a dress for her as a toddler and it remains in her possession to this day. The first edition of The Millicent Times and a photographic portrait of Roland Campbell are permanent fixtures at the Millicent National Trust Museum.
After four years at the helm, Mr Campbell sold the business of The Millicent Times to his brother Donald and he ran it for a decade. The Millicent Times was based in George Street near the Somerset Hotel. Following another change of owners in 1906, it was re-named The South Eastern Times.