Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter-Glory Days June 2012 Contents [ GLORY DAYS ]
71. News in paper and ink
Newspapers arrive oN HuNter streets: JaNuary,
The arrival of a newspaper in a town has always been a recogniton
of an area’s growth and prosperity, a sign that a settlement is
growing up. So it was in the Hunter in the mid-1800s.
The Maitland Mercury is Australia’s oldest regional newspaper,
frst issued on January 7, 1843, just 12 years after the Sydney
Morning Herald, Australia’s oldest continuously published paper.
Originally published as a weekly, the Mercury still serves the
Maitland area fve days a week.
Maitland was a much larger settlement than Newcastle in its
early days, beating Newcastle to the newspaper punch as its frst
paper is believed to have been The Newcastle Telegraph, which
appeared in 1855, printed in Maitland but distributed from an
offce in Bolton St.
The Telegraph was a short-lived enterprise and the frst
Newcastle newspaper with staying power was the Newcastle
Chronicle and Hunter District News , which appeared on August
28, 1858, four pages with a sixpenny cover price. The Chronicle
published until 1876 when it merged with the Miners’ Advocate
and Northumberland Recorder, which had been launched from
Wallsend on February 21, 1873. It moved to Newcastle in 1876 to
become a daily - and the parent of the present-day Newcastle
The frst Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate
appeared on April 3, 1876, its editorial stating the paper
would “sound the loud note of defance to all who impugn the
geographical and political advantages of Newcastle”.
Within three months the Chronicle merged with The Herald as
the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (incorporating
Newcastle Chronicle). It has been bringing the region its daily news
72. Olympic gold
Matt ryaN wiNs tHird olyMpic gold: septeMber,
Lochinvar rider Matt Ryan became the Hunter’s most successful
Olympian when he won his third equestrian gold medal on
September 19, 2000, at the Sydney Olympics - and it should have
been his fourth.
After being a reserve rider at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Ryan
took two gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics for the equestrian
three-day team event and three-day individual event, a heroic
effort as in the last round of the showjumping he could afford only
one mistake to secure both golds. He cleared the frst 11 jumps
before stumbling at the last, good enough to seal victory.
Back to defend his titles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he was
devastated when both his mounts went lame. He missed gold-
medal glory as his team went on to win, but redemption came at
Sydney in 2000 when he was again a member of the victorious
Ryan’s Olympic career ended as reserve rider at the 2004
Athens Olympics, and he is now based in the
United Kingdom and still competing.
Two more Olympic golds the Hunter has some
claim to came in the same event as Ryan’s, when
Laurie Morgan captained the three-day team to
victory at the 1960 Rome games and also won
the individual. Morgan came from Victoria and
played Aussie Rules for Fitzroy - he is believed to
be the only VFL/AFL player to have won Olympic
gold - but bought the Hunter Valley thoroughbred
stud Red Bank near Scone in 1940 and lived
there until 1953 when he moved to Condobolin.
He bred the AJC Derby winner Valiant Crown
(1947) and Golden Slipper winner Royal Parma
(1968), and among other sporting achievements
was a champion boxer, rower, polo player and
rode steeplechase races in England, including a
placegetter in the 1963 Grand National at Aintree.
The equestrians are part of an elite band of
Hunter Olympic gold-medal winners, including
hockey’s Julie Towers, who collected gold at
Sydney in 2000, and Shelley Andrews, who
did likewise at Atlanta in 1996. Swimmer Angie
Bainbridge collected gold at Beijing when she
swam in a heat of the 4x200 relay but watched
from the stands as her relay teammates caused
one of the biggest boilovers in Olympic swimming
history by upstaging the US to win the fnal in
73. Hunter's first
Harry Hay grabs silver Medal:
Without absolute certainty, it is believed Maitland-
born Harry Hay was the Hunter’s frst Olympian
when he swam at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics and
was the Australian fagbearer.
Hay was living in Sydney and swimming at Manly
Swimming Club at the time of his selection, but was
born in Maitland - his full name was Harry Maitland
Hay - in 1893. Part of only a six-person Australian
team at the games, where there were only 10
swimming events, Hay won a silver medal in the
4x200 freestyle relay, defeated by the US which
was led by Duke Kahanamoku. Hay went on to
coach Andrew “Boy” Charlton to Olympic gold and
continued coaching until his death in 1952.
According to a list of more than 100 Hunter
region Olympians prepared by the Australian
Olympic Federation, the area’s frst born-and-bred
Olympian selected from the area was Singleton
swimmer Kevin Hallett, at the frst post-war games
in London in 1948.
Hallett was unsuccessful in the 200-metre
breaststroke, but his participation was already a
fairytale as the Australian Olympic Committee
had funds for four swimmers only, and others
had to provide $1000 to be part of the team. The
Singleton community raised $1124 to get Hallett to
Hallett’s team was the frst to fy to an Olympic
Games, but things were a bit different in 1948 - the
plane had to land at Darwin to refuel, overnight at
Singapore, refuel at Calcutta, overnight at Karachi,
overnight at Cairo and refuel at Tripoli. The trip
took four days.
Hallett, now 82, still lives in Singleton.
Both these sportsmen were nearly upstaged
as the Hunter’s frst Olympian - and gold-medal
winner - at the 1908 London games when a Sydney
doctor doing a year’s residency in Newcastle, Dr
Herbert “Paddy” Moran, was picked to captain the
Wallabies on their frst overseas tour in 1908/09.
While touring the British Isles the Wallabies
played in the Olympics (Australia and Great Britain,
represented by Cornwall, were the only two teams,
and so the only match was the gold-medal decider
which Australia won 32-3) but Moran was injured in
an earlier tour match and did not take part.
Gold medal, 2000
Kevin Hallet, 1994
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