Over the years a number of local newspapers have started off full of enthusiasm and then either foundered after only a few issues, or were absorbed by other titles. Devonport Museum has two examples of these, which were received by donation.
‘The Devonport News’ was described as the “official organ of the Devonport Businessmen’s Association’ and the first issue was likely published in July 1949. The Association had been incorporated in 1948. The Number Two issue for August 1949 proudly affirms that the ‘News’ now covered all three-thousand plus homes in Devonport Borough (3,467 copies). It was free of charge, four columns across and four pages long, and published by North Shore Printers in Albert Street, Devonport. Frank Lowe was the editor.
Volume One, Number One is missing, but Numbers Two, Four, Five and Six remain. In Number Two, as well as featuring local businesses in Devonport, the middle two columns of the first page featured ‘Early days of Devonport’, with a reproduction of an 1880 photograph of Church Street and surrounds. This and subsequent front page articles to Number Five, inclusive, were quite possibly written by local historian and printer Tom Walsh, or at least used him as their source.
Number Two also includes brief reports from the first annual ball of the North Shore Fire Brigade, held at the main North Shore entertainment centre, the Pirate Shippe in Milford. There were also reports from local parent-teacher associations, the Scouts and Girl Guides and from the North Shore Caledonian Society. The Takapuna and Devonport Businessmen’s Association also held a joint ‘social and dance’, at the Milford tennis pavilion.
Elsewhere in Number Two, we have a report on North Shore hockey, along with those from local soccer and cricket clubs. The ‘Women’s section’ offered household hints, recipes and ‘charm hints for today’. Advertisements included those for locally produced Eldora Ice Cream and North Shore Dry Cleaning.
Number Four is dated October 1949 and follows the same format as Number Two. It also features the “promising young pianist” Barbara Jury and proposals to re-organise traffic at the Devonport Wharf Terminal.
Number Five is dated November 1949 and a brief article on page two celebrates 50 years of the Salvation Army in Devonport. Ladies’ bowls, along with cricket, are the sporting foci. Number Six for December 1949 adds in reports on swimming as a sport.
From 5 April 1950, the ‘Devonport News’ was incorporated into the ‘North Shore Times’.
The ‘North Shore Press’ is solely represented by Volume One, Number Three, for Tuesday 23 November 1954. It was published in association with ‘The East Coast Bays News’, and both fortnightly publications were on sale at all ‘newsagents’ from Bayswater to Torbay. They were three pence each (two cents), and the ‘Press’ was five columns across and eight pages in length. They were edited by Timothy Stack Hickey (1889-1974) of 5 William Street in Takapuna, and printed by the Northern Printing Company of Takapuna.
Editor of the ‘Opunake Times’ from 1919 to June 1930, Hickey became editor of the ‘The Bridge’ newspaper (published in Birkenhead and Takapuna) from 1930, the ‘North Shore News’ from 1931, the ‘Tribune’ from 1935, the ‘New Zealand Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News’ from 1936 and the ‘Takapuna Bulletin’ from 1953. Very few copies remain of ‘The Bridge’ and none of the ‘Takapuna Bulletin’. He also edited the ‘North Shore Times’ for a time, following its amalgamation with the ‘North Shore Press’.
As well as a report from a talk by local M.P. Dean Eyre to the Takapuna Rotary Club, and coverage of local issues, this issue of the ‘North Shore Press’ features advertisements from local businesses, including G. Nicks and Son, timber and joinery merchants of Northcroft Street, and Galbraith’s plumbing.
Cricket and bowling are the sporting foci and there is an advertisement for the ‘555’ cinema in Browns Bay. Inghams Hardware of Hall’s Corner in Takapuna advertised English bone china, Italian crushed marble ornaments and boxed cutlery as Christmas specials. Roberts Electrical had a Kelvinator home freezer on display, and also advertised the availability of musical recordings by Doris Day and Benny Goodman.