Project aims to digitally preserve West Coast Recorder

PRESERVING: Ashley Cowley holds up some bound copies of the West Coast Recorder while Chris Mantle has a look at digitised copies of the Port Lincoln Times on Trove.
PRESERVING: Ashley Cowley holds up some bound copies of the West Coast Recorder while Chris Mantle has a look at digitised copies of the Port Lincoln Times on Trove.

The Port Lincoln History Group is calling for support for a project aimed to digitise newspapers chronicling the history of the first half of the 20th century.

The group is aiming to ensure the digitisation of all editions of the West Coast Recorder, in partnership with the State Library of South Australia.

The $26,000 project is being half funded by the library and half by the history group, which is calling for financial donations to ensure the project could go ahead.

Group member Ashley Cowley had been a driving force behind this project after discovering there was a gap in the Port Lincoln newspapers available on Trove.

HISTORY: Ash Cowley looks over editions of the West Coast Recorder.

HISTORY: Ash Cowley looks over editions of the West Coast Recorder.

Mr Cowley said he found he could not "go backwards or forwards" on Trove with the Port Lincoln Times, which only had editions between 1927 and 1955.

He said after finding that The Times in Victor Harbour had been mostly digitised it prompted the need to digitise the local newspapers.

"Our history is locked up in our newspapers," he said.

Mr Cowley said there had been significant interest and donations already from across the Eyre Peninsula, with the group about three quarters of the way to their target.

The West Coast Recorder was printed from 1904 to 1942 and while it was not the first newspaper in Port Lincoln, it was the first major one to be established.

A column showing the West Coast Recorder's circulation.

A column showing the West Coast Recorder's circulation.

It's circulation went across the Eyre Peninsula and even up the Far West Coast to Ceduna (Murat Bay), Penong and Yalata and was even available in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Mr Cowley said by getting these newspapers digitised it preserved a large portion of the Eyre Peninsula's history and made it available for everyone to access.

"Once this is finished and up on Trove, everybody will have free access," he said.

State Library reformatting coordinator Kimberley Dye said the library's in-house reformatting team was committed to digitising all South Australian newspapers as part of an ongoing preservation strategy.

She said local papers were a wealth of knowledge about our past and helped to inform our future.

"Trove is an incredibly important resource for the public with the immediate benefit being that the community is able to access the entire collection online through Trove at home or onsite at their local library or here at the State Library of South Australia," she said.

"The State Library is always keen to assist local communities preserve their history as it is their stories that make South Australia what it is."

After this project the history group has future digitisation projects planned including the Port Lincoln Times from 1955 onwards.

To make a donation to the project or to find out more visit the Port Lincoln History Group's Facebook page or email portlincolnhistory@gmail.com.

This story Unlocking recorded history first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.