Stephen Bali, Michelle Rowland and Ed Husic pay tribute to closure of the Blacktown Sun

Blacktown MP Stephen Bali, pictured in June 2008 when he was still a fresh face on Blacktown Council.
Blacktown MP Stephen Bali, pictured in June 2008 when he was still a fresh face on Blacktown Council.

Blacktown MP and Mayor Stephen Bali

The Fairfax stable of papers has played a pivotal role in providing news and entertainment for our local community. Since 1982 they have provided coverage on many significant events with national importance but from the local perspective, providing a wide range of emotions to the readership.

We were shocked and cried about the murder of Anita Cobby as well as horrific vehicle accidents, crime and more recently with Julian Cadman’s death in the Barcelona terror attack. The good news stories also made us laugh or smile with locals representing Australia at world or Olympic championships, school students that achieved so much, and people overcoming adversity.

The papers have had many colourful characters.  You can never forget the investigative journalist skills of Nick Soon delving into local issues. My thanks for the current generation – group editor Heloise Reece, gallery hound Harrison Vesey, the investigator Heath Parkes-Hupton, and lifestyle guru Katrina Vo for carrying on the great tradition of journalism.

I will miss the photographers who try to get the right shot, particularly Isabella Lettini trying to take a photo of me driving a garbage truck around Eastern Creek.

There are many memories, some fond and others not so fond – particularly when I was in the firing line – but on behalf of the community, thank you for all your dedication to the craft of journalism and best wishes to all the staff on your future endeavours.

Michelle Rowland, pictured in the Fairfax Sun (as it was formerly known) at age 23 as a university student after a political exchange visit to Germany.

Michelle Rowland, pictured in the Fairfax Sun (as it was formerly known) at age 23 as a university student after a political exchange visit to Germany.

Greenway MP Michelle Rowland

A lot has changed in the 22 years since I made my first appearance in the Blacktown Sun, and not just hairstyles. But the qualities that made it a trusted source of local news and information will endure right up until its last edition.

Advances in technology, the rise of digital platforms, and the way in which opinion is disseminated today was never envisaged when the Sun’s inaugural edition burst hot off the press all those decades ago.

One thing that will never change is the importance of localism. The Sun was always focused on the human story, the way in which events and decisions of national scale and scope can be translated to the experience and impact on local residents.

And just as Blacktown itself has grown, so too did the Sun expand its repertoire to review exotic cuisines, the rise of new estates on our city’s fringes and high rise in our city centre, and the vox pop attitudes of our citizens in everything from Blacktown’s name to its long-term sustainability.

Importantly, localism for the Sun has never meant parochialism. Its coverage has always been unbiased, its stories meaningful, its photographs thoughtful.

To all the journalists, photographers, designers, researchers, editorial, sales and administrative staff of the Sun now and over the years who brought us the news we needed to know – thank you.

Your skill and dedication has left an indelible mark on our city and its people.

Chifley MP Ed Husic, pictured this year with Loyola Senior High School principal Cathy Larkin, as well as former and current students affected by proposed changes to higher education. Picture: Geoff Jones

Chifley MP Ed Husic, pictured this year with Loyola Senior High School principal Cathy Larkin, as well as former and current students affected by proposed changes to higher education. Picture: Geoff Jones

Chifley MP Ed Husic

Our community has a long and rich history - and for nearly four decades the Blacktown Sun helped record that history, week in, week out.

Growing up in Blacktown, I loved reading the Sun. Its reporting of local politics helped give me the interest and drive to get into politics.

Its reporters were trusted names, who knew so much of what was happening - and what had happened - in our neighbourhoods.

Some reporters got their start at the paper, to later go on to bigger and better things. And, importantly, the Sun was a great platform for locals to have their say on the things that mattered most.

The Sun's departure is a reminder of how much times are changing. The new world has put new pressures on our local newspapers - and it's a reminder about the need to support the type of quality reporting we find in local papers like the Sun.

We miss these things when they're gone. But the work of the Sun will certainly not be forgotten.

As the Federal Member for Chifley, I want to pay tribute to the wonderful team at Fairfax who week after week produced a fantastic newspaper. I know many people across western Sydney region will miss picking up a copy of papers like the Sun on a Wednesday morning as many have over the years from my Mount Druitt office. 

Thank you for all the wonderful stories and memories.

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