The Ward family is carrying on a 123-year tradition of producing news for the Wimmera with today’s edition of The Horsham Times.
Previously, editor David Ward’s grandfather, Jack Ward (J. V. S.) produced a newspaper of the same title for 38 years consecutively.
Mr Ward and his children, Jessica Taylor and Andrew Ward, currently produce the Warracknabeal Herald, Dimboola Banner and The Argus.
The Ward family has been putting out the news of the day to Wimmera readers since 1897.
The original Horsham newspaper was first published by Edward Stephens in 1873 in a log hut in Firebrace Street by a staff of two.
Horsham had a population of only 350.
In 1897 George Ward bought an interest in the paper from second owner Fred Martin.
In 1920 George Ward died and Fred Martin sold his interest to Ward’s family.
From there Jack Ward, George’s son, ran the show, and he would continue to run it until 1959.
In 1933 Jack Ward also opened Horsham’s first radio station, 3HS, on Firebrace Street, which he sold in 1935 to the Melbourne Herald Group.
In 1958 The Horsham Times won the John and James Cook award for best country bi-weekly or tri-weekly newspaper in Victoria.
In 1959 Jack Ward began to suffer ill health and The Horsham Times was sold to Elliot Press, of Mildura, who shortly after sold it to News Corp and then amalgamated it with the West Wimmera Mail, creating the Wimmera Mail-Times.
However, the Ward family has continued to publish local news, currently in the form of the Warracknabeal Herald, the Dimboola Banner and The Argus.
Current editor David Ward said he made the decision to reinstate The Horsham Times because the temporary cessation of print editions of the Wimmera Mail-Times, and other Australian Community Media newspapers, had left a “vacuum” in local news.
“We had many phone calls from people concerned about this lack of service and asked us to provide a newspaper,” Mr Ward said.
“We’ve been in the game a long time and people knew the values of our approach to community journalism.”
Mr Ward said the new publication was a long-term commitment for the company, which he runs with his children, Jessica Taylor and Andrew Ward.
“The demand for community news dictates that we’re viewing this as a long-term project,” Mr Ward said.
“Our family has had a long history and a long connection (with news) and Jessica and Andrew are fifth generation in this industry.”