I never thought I’d see a day when the sun finally set in Blacktown.
That’s exactly how it feels as I am called to write this “eulogy” piece for a publication that has been so important to my career in journalism.
After spending seven formative years working for the Blacktown Guardian – now also a part of history – I joined the Sun crew in 2000.
It was big deal. Finally I was part of a real newspaper group, working for what I believed was a real newspaper.
And that we were. A big fat paper supported by a big fat news room full of journos and photographers.
My initial post was that of council reporter, quite a task considering Blacktown Council at the time had a reputation among journos for being a bit of a “bear pit”.
They were good days, leads running hot via the traditional means: from the street, from the phones, from the “sources” and of course there was the occasional email tip off.
That first newsroom was a constant buzz, as we worked hard to fill our weighty news pages.
I have fond memories of the crew. Senior reporter Nick Soon had been with the paper for what seemed to me centuries and his knowledge of the area was astounding. It was great to call him colleague and not opposition.
It was also one of the first stomping grounds for Sydney Morning Herald photographer Wolter Peeters and the place where NRL referee Gerard Sutton earned his weekly crust while trying to break it into the main arena.
As far as my career is concerned it is my time at Blacktown that I will always look back on with the greatest fondness.
It would be the base for my maiden run as an editor.
Typical fella that I am, I can’t recall the exact date of the appointment – pretty sure it was around the 2006 mark.
It should be noted at this point that I am a Blacktown boy through and through, having attended Shelley Public School and Mitchell High School. I even attended the University of Western Sydney.
Needless to say, I was a pretty proud chap to take on the editor’s post in my own home town.
I held the position for several years before moving on to head the editorial sections of the company’s Fairfield and Liverpool papers, before taking up my current post in the Hawkesbury.
I am honoured to be able to once again write for the people of Blacktown, and of course saddened knowing it may well be for the last time.
Thank you for having provided me so many fond memories.