Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cobram newsagency hits 65 years

Cobram newsagency relfects and looks to the future in celebrating its 65th anniversary.

ROB HENSON April 29, 2014 3:02am

65 years young: Pam Johnston,Leanne Laffan and Rod Dutneall.

Cobram’s newsagency owners are reflecting on a proud history and uncertain future after celebrating 65 years of selling the news.

Cobram Newspower’s Rod and Mark Dutneall took over the business their father had purchased after the war in 1949 and relocated to the opposite side of Punt Rd about 30 years ago.

‘‘The shop was only half the size it is today,’’ Rod said.

But apart from the move and a structural extension, little has changed in the six-and-a-half decades.

Rod fondly remembers the local paperboys of yesteryear.

‘‘The paper boys back in those days were bloody great; they were all loyal, there might have been one or two that played up.

‘‘We had a lot come through, we’d have parents say ‘can our boy come to you to get some experience, for later in life?’

‘‘Then the wrap came along, and we’ve had some great delivery men. We’ve had great delivery staff, with the boys and men.’’

Rod said he still enjoyed the work but the current retail environment was ‘‘rough’’.

‘‘We’re probably down about 10 per cent, and with our turnover that’s a lot of money.’’

An average day for Rod is getting up at 2am, making sure the newspapers are lined up and waiting for the early-bird regulars.

In 65 years, the shop has sold at least 23725 different editions of the Herald Sun, or 3380 different editions of the Courier.

With the growing threat of online media, Rod said the future of newsagencies was still strong.

‘‘All the stuff going online, it scares you at the start, but papers will always be around. To a lesser degree I suppose, but people still want them.

‘‘In the online stuff, you don’t get the whole story, it’s only brief, whereas in the paper, it’s got everything you want.

‘‘And why would you want to look at a screen all the time?

‘‘The future of newsagencies is still strong, especially in the country because you’ve still got deliveries.

‘‘In the future, it could be 25 years or so, (newsagencies) may not be around, but you can’t predict the future.’’

Rod thanked his customers in celebrating the milestone.

‘‘I just want to thank the entire population of Cobram, that’s the reason we’re here.’’

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