The history of Town Talk

Jul 2019Editorial, History, Stories

Written by Iris Annear.

After many years of fun, frustration and chaos at Town Talk and with Tracie, who has been part of the Town Talk team previously, willing to take on getting the news out to the community, I am happy to move on. It has been great working for so many years with Graham and Irene Dunn, Graham always just a phone call and he would come to fix equipment or sort problems.

Most locals will know that Kalbarri News, first started by Graham Dunn at the Post Office / Newsagency then taken on by the secondary correspondence students (no High school in those days). Students and their teacher Helen Young were responsible for the First issue of Town Talk in 1984, work commitments made it impossible for the students to continue after the first couple of issues and it moved to the Shire Community House and a committee formed to run the newsletter which was printed fortnightly at a price to the public of 20 cents. It was being produced with Gestetner Duplicator. In August 1985 the Shire House was needed for men working on the then, new sub-division. (Council had generously let the community have the use of the house unless they had a need for it.)

Town Talk moved to Rhod Lordings residence in Haselby Street, disorganising his games room until the next move which was to the PCYC Hall. The PCYC Committee allowed Town Talk ( Thanks to Graham Dunn) to partition off an area at the side of the Hall (later a store room) at Town Talk’s expense, making a more permanent spot for production of the paper. We were there for quite a few years then moved for a very short time to my spare bedroom in Maver Street before the Shire allowed us half of the old, re-located building near the town oval., originally a shire office and library. We shared that building with the local Art & Craft group until we moved up to the old St. John Ambulance building – again a Shire building, overjoyed because we really thought that was the final move; we did share that with the Zest Festival Committee – then of course as you would all know – the Seabrees Kids needed a place to operate from and where we were was perfect. So, after meetings with the Shire and Seabrees – and with grants from Lotterywest etc., the old Ambulance Garage received a makeover, was air-conditioned and carpeted and we moved next door. The very best premises we have ever had, very secure, good space and storage.

Over the years we have gone from a manual typewriter, hand drawn advertisements and notices. When we did eventually put in photographs, they were just “black blobs.” If we wanted something fancy, it was the original cut (from another paper or magazine) and paste then photocopy, not forgetting the old hand held staplers. we progressed to a commercial staple then – wow – an electric stapler that uses a roll of 5000 staples.

We had regular columns, “Old Timer” written by Carl Arndt and who could forget “Potty Pete” written by Bob Nunn from Pot Alley Gallery. Lesley Styles always had a cartoon depicting some local event.


Do you remember these?


Currently we have computers, laser colour printers, scanners, colour photocopier etc.

The majority of articles and photos are emailed in. Many people have been part of Town Talk over the years and we always have such a bright, energetic team at 7am the first Wednesday of the month putting the paper together. It has now grown to 65-70 pages each month. The magazines are stapled, our mailing list enveloped and addressed, magazines counted and packed then delivered around town for sale.

Sometimes we have a busy month with lots happening then there are the few quiet months where news is hard to find. We rely heavily on the community and local clubs and organisations to send in their news. Our advertisers keep the paper going; in the very early days we had to have quiz nights to raise money to buy equipment and supplies.

My association of thirty plus years with Town Talk has been so interesting, lots of fun and of course some controversy at times, I have been so lucky to work with so many great people, some are still here, many have moved on. I can’t name you all for fear of missing someone, but thank you.

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