The Newspaper


Manilla Express Office1907

 MANILLA EXPRESS Office c.1907
(200 Manilla Street)


Document under review

A, HC & C Vincent Driving The Manilla Ex

Arthur, Cleave and Cecil Vincent


The MANILLA EXPRESS, established 1899 and still in print, has been the major resource for the telling of Manilla's history down the years. founded by the Vincent family of printers, the Express has been going to print on a continual basis since first published on January 14, 1899. Publication halted for a time during the second World War. Most original copies of the newspaper are held in the Community Archives at Manilla Heritage Museum, along with a set on microfilm, processed by the University of New England. The only known first edition of the Manilla Express is held in the Australian National Library, minus its crucial page 1. However, some years ago, the Museum volunteers were fortunate to see and record page 1 of the first printing which can be seen below. A copy has since been contributed to the Australian National Library collection, and editions [1899-1955] of the Express can be viewed in the Library's digitised Trove listings. 

ANL Trove Logo
Staff of the Manilla Express pictured outside premises eastern side of Manilla Street 1910s. Cecil Vincent seated.
History of The Vincent Printers 1839-193

Staff of the Manilla Express around 1910. Editor Cecil Vincent in foreground.

History of The Vincent Printers 1839-1939

The MANILLA EXPRESS, was founded by Arthur Vincent on behalf of the Vincent Family of Printers. Its first edition was printed in premises opposite the Manilla Court House on the south-eastern corner of Manilla & Court streets. Soon after, the office and printery was set up in new brick premises opposite the first Mechanic's Institute building, probably operating there for most of that decade. It was long thought that the Express then moved to 2 storey premises on the south-western side of Manilla Street. Photos show the Express masthead displayed on this building, but a date remains obscure. In 1919 the building in question was destroyed by fire, thought for many years to have ruined the office of the Express. However, all published copies of the Manilla Express remain intact and research shows a second newspaper operating here in those early years. The Express continues on to this day, as one of a very few independent publications left standing, after huge changes in the news industry, which sees hundreds of Australia's historical mastheads consumed by major corporations, only to be subsequently deemed unprofitable. 

Manilla Express 1st Edition Front Page1899

Vol.1  Number 1  Page 1  January 14 1899

A Second Newspaper

1918 Manilla Field newspaper page 2
1918 Manilla Field newspaper page 1.jpg


Printer John Hammill came to Manilla from Cowra in 1911 and founded Manilla's 2nd newspaper, the 'Manilla Field' and Hammill's Printery, which he ran successfully until 1919. In August of that year, fire destroyed 'The Manilla Field and Hammill's Printery'. Consequently, copies of the Manilla Field are extremely rare. There are just 3 pages held in the Manilla Community Archives - a brief 1914 Wartime extra and 2 pages from a 1918 edition, reproduced here.
John Hammill was involved in the newspaper industry for 45 years prior to his death in 1926 at the age of 59. Over his long career, he had interests in many publications:- the 'Broken Hill Times', the 'Marrickville Review', the 'Eagle Printing Co.', the 'Albury Banner', the 'Coolamon and Ganmain Farmers Review', the 'Corowa Chronicle', and the 'Cowra Guardian'. 

The First Manilla History Book

'The TRANSFORMATION of MANELLAE' was written by Alton Richmond Macleod (1887-1951), proprietor of The Manilla Express between 1918-1947. For his history book, he researched the pages of  the Manilla Express, editions of the Government Gazette, feature articles from major newspapers and drew upon local knowledge.
After editing the Express for 24 years, "Mac" sold the newspaper to George Greaves of Barraba in 1947, to concentrate on completing his book. With the aid of a mortgage, Macleod's history book was self-published in 1949, 2 years before his death. It has been digitised by the Australian National Library, but is not currently available online.

Photo of local historian A.R. Macleod with rotary Club badge inset
AR 'Mac' Macleod's Rotary Badge

Alton Richmond Macleod
 Editor, Manilla Express 1923-1947 

The Second Manilla History Book

"A HISTORY OF MANILLA 1853-1979" by Marion Bignall (1914-2015) & Lindsay Bignall, (1913-2000), foundation members of Manilla Historical Society. Their research was based upon Alton Macleod's book, and the history brought up to date via additional articles from later editions of the Manilla Express and local oral history accounts.
This book was published in 1980 with the assistance of Manilla Historical Society and Manilla Shire Council. It is now out of print, but 
may be available for purchase online.

Manilla History Book
Local historians Lindsay & Marion Bignall. Photo by E. Valks Gunnedah 1990s

Lindsay  &  Marion Bignall (Macleod)

Future Texts

In many locally published histories - however genuine the intent - flaws may be found, and texts inevitably disputed. Bias may also be revealed and sensitive topics conspicuously overlooked in histories drawn from self-reference. Historians today are fortunate to have many more avenues of research available to them and our purpose as 21st century historians is to further research the topics covered, further afield from our immediate resources, to evaluate past entries against other histories and to update the record.
It is our aim to broaden the existing record, to look at our past in view of the bigger picture of events and factors which influenced the making of this and other communities down the years. Public input to the task is most welcome.
Please get in touch via our contact form if you would like to help in this research, or advise of any anomalies in this online edition.

Diana Nichol