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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Way We Were - With Typewriters

The outstanding British foreign correspondent Richard West died in Deal, Kent, on Saturday, aged 84. The GuardianThe Spectator and The Telegraph have run interesting obituaries - or, in the case of The Spectator, a rehash of a 1989 profile (see the praise from Graham Greene for West's insightful review of The Quiet American).
Used as the prototype of the fictitious freelance journalist hero in the 1973 book Harris in Wonderful, West (Harris) was described as surveying "the contemporary scene with a sort of bemused wonder, conspicuously harmless until he gets near a typewriter".
The Telegraph obituary for West drew a fascinating comment from Adrian Lithgow, who worked with West on the Mail on SundayLithgow, now managing director of George Berkeley Public Relations, worked  for the West Lancs Evening Gazette, Sunday Mercury, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Business and BusinessAge and since 2010 has also been an editor at BastideLife. Lithgrow wrote about West's astonishing skill:
"I remember when West came in to the newsroom of the Mail on Sunday to write an article, sat at an old Remington and proceeded to type. He didn't look up, consult a note, go back to correct himself, but wrote the 1000-word piece without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Got to the end after about 20 minutes, assembled the copy and put it in the in-copy tray and then left without a word to anyone expect a five-minute detour to see the then editor Stewart Steven. And his article appeared in the next edition without any sub-editor's correction. That was doing it in style!"
I'd like to challenge any young would-be journalist today (Jasper?!) to do that:
1. One typewriter.
2. 20 minutes.
3. No hesitating.
4. No consulting notes.
5. 1000 words.
6. No stopping for corrections. No need for corrections later.
Go! (JL: I wouldn't ask you to do something I haven't done myself!)
Perhaps the budding journo could try something else West did: One-time North Country newspaper colleague Michael Frayne (Travels With a Typewriter) recalled that West once wrote an article on a sheep dog trial through the eyes of a sheep.
Richard Leaf West was born in Chelsea, London, on July 18, 1930, the son of Douglas West, a publisher and sometime journalist who was once literary editor of the Daily Mail. He was raised in North America during the World War II years. A reporter and author, Dick West will be best remembered for his coverage of the Vietnam War and Yugoslavia.
Neal Ascherson's The Guardian obituary points out that West claimed “liberal censorship” at home, the precursor of political correctness, was stifling his attempts to report that moral permissiveness – drugs, porn, “radical politics” – were a bigger cause of US defeat than military failure.
Far from a big boozer by normal journalistic standards, West went for a drink one night in Saigon, woke up the next morning on the edge of a paddy field, thumbed down a lift and asked the driver what was the nearest city. "Singapore, of course" came the reply. Which is about 680 miles from Saigon, as the crow flies.
West started his newspaper career at the Manchester Guardian (where he was assigned to cover the sheep dog trials) and later the Daily Mirror in London. As letters editor at the Mirror, he tried to spice up the pages with letters he wrote himself, including one headed "Why can’t we have a teenage Pope?”, as well as the classified ads page with “Beaters wanted for budgie shoot in West Midlands”.
West soon got involved in far more serious matters and went on to work in Eastern Europe, Southern Africa, Central America and Indochina. He was married to a former colleague of mine, the Irish journalist Mary Kenny (who gave the world that wonderful Private Eye expression, "Discussing Ugandan Affairs"). In his later life West produced biographies of Daniel Defoe and Chaucer. He once wrote a controversial book (River of Tears) about Rio Tinto Zinc. Far from being offended, an Australian director bought up 200 copies to give to his executives. The book also inspired Harris in Wonderland.

The 'Australian Soldier' Who Killed Lord Kitchener: His Lover and His Typewriter

'Australian soldier Captain Claude Stoughton'
promoting US World War I bonds.
Australian passions have been inflamed. First, hundreds of thousands of them turned out at dawn services in various parts of the globe for emotional ceremonies celebrating the centenary of Anzac Day. Only to be admonished for doing so by a young TV soccer reporter, who tweeted, "The cultification of an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with is against all ideals of modern society ... Wonder if the poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers pause today to consider the horror that all mankind suffered ... Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan ... Not forgetting that the largest single-day terrorist attacks in history were committed by this nation and their allies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... Innocent children, on the way to school, murdered. Their shadows seared into the concrete of Hiroshima." The nation was outraged and the reporter was summarily sacked. At least news reader Hugh Riminton had the intestinal fortitude to comment that while the reporter's tweets were "untimely, immature and in one case offensively wrong" ... "But lest we forget, our Diggers died for free speech." Someone also raised the issue of Je suis Charlie. This was far from satire, of course; still, as misguided, "untimely and immature" and "inappropriate and disrespectful" as they were, they were one person's opinions.
Asquith's squeeze: Ms Stanley
Feelings were already running high. On the eve of Anzac Day, a Sydney columnist pointed out that on January 13, 1915, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill had put forward the Gallipoli landings idea to a British War Council crisis meeting in London while Prime Minister Herbert Asquith was otherwise preoccupied writing his third love letter of the day to Venetia Stanley, a mistress 35 years his junior. Lord Kitchener said Churchill's plan was worth trying, so Asquith added to his love letter that he'd "see if it meets with your [Venetia's] approval". How dare, the columnist asked, the British PM put the lives of tens of thousands of Australian and New Zealand lives in the hands of his young female 'playmate'?
I have no doubt that in the poignant and sometimes tense atmosphere of Saturday, there were a few Australians and New Zealanders thinking, "If I'd only been there, I'd have killed Asquith, Churchill and Kitchener."
Well, as it turns out, an 'Australian' did kill Kitchener, 18 months after the London meeting and a year and six weeks after the Gallipoli landings. Or so he claimed ... 
He was Captain Claude Stoughton of the Western Australian Light Horse Regiment, a man who had "seen more war than any man at present" [in 1914] and to have been "bayoneted three times, gassed four times, and stuck once with a hook". Such stirring talk led to Captain Stoughton appearing before New York audiences dressed in uniform and telling war stories, and using his image to promote the sale of Liberty Bonds. One historian noted, "Captain Stoughton's career took off. His talks made decent money, his heroism earned him respect, and ladies found him alluring." 
Problem was, there was no such person as Claude Stoughton. But the fellow masquerading as this fictitious Aussie soldier did, in fact, claim to be responsible for the death of Lord Kitchener. Indeed, he told his story for a book called The Man Who Killed Kitchener and wanted a movie made of it.
Kitchener sailed from Scrabster to Scapa Flow on June 5, 1916, aboard the HMS Oak before transferring to the armoured cruiser HMS Hampshire for his diplomatic mission to Russia. While en route to the Russian port of Arkhangelsk during a Force 9 gale, Hampshire is believed to have struck a mine laid by the newly launched German U-boat U-75 and sank west of the Orkney Islands. Kitchener, his staff and 643 of the crew of 655 were drowned or died of exposure. Kitchener's body was never found.
While all this seems quite straightforward, there are still some astonishing theories about Kitchener's demise. The one that has 99 years on proved "most difficult to disprove" concerns a South African-born, Oxford-educated German secret agent and US citizen called Frederick "Fritz" Joubert Duquesne.
The theory goes that, posing as a Russian duke, Duquesne had joined Kitchener on the Hampshire and signalled the German U-boat. Duquesne allegedly made his own escape using a life raft before the ship was torpedoed and was rescued by the U-75. He claimed to have been awarded the Iron Cross for his act.
What is known for certain is that Duquesne was a man with "an all-consuming hatred of England" (his sister Elsbet had been raped and murdered and his mother Minna imprisoned by Kitchener's army in South Africa) and according to his biographer was "a walking, living, breathing, searing, killing, destroying torch of hate".
Apart from "The Man Who Killed Kitchener" and Captain Claude Stoughton, Duquesne also used the nom-de-plumes Frederick Fredericks, Boris Zakrevsky, Major Frank de Stafford Craven, Colonel Beza, Piet Niacud, George Fordam, The Duke and, most colourfully, "The Black Panther".
Duquesne was born the son of a hunter in East London in the Eastern Cape on September 21, 1877, and died in the City Hospital, Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island), New York City, on May 24, 1956, aged 78. He is buried at Potters Field, Hart Island, in the Bronx.
From the Eastern Cape to the Bronx, Duquesne led a life of extraordinary daring.
The law caught up with him one last time on June 28, 1941, when he was arrested by FBI agents in the Manhattan apartment of his lover, his anti-British and anti-Semitic co-conspirator Evelyn Clayton Lewis. They nabbed Lewis and the pair's typewriter at the same time, and in turn 31 other members of the infamous Duquesne Spy Ring. These arrests led in 1942 to the largest espionage conviction in US history.
Lewis, the daughter of wealthy investment broker Charles Beverly Lewis (1869-1943), was born in Batesville, Arkansas, on February 23, 1903. When she was a teenager, the family moved to Dallas, Texas. After her arrest as an unregistered agent, she pleaded guilty, admitted she had let her own country down, and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. The day she was released, February 28, 1943, her father died of diarrhoea in Dallas, aged 73.
Evelyn married John William Kingwell in Louisiana in 1945.
Duquesne's career of crime makes breathtaking reading. During the Second Boer War (1899-1902) he was captured and imprisoned three times by the British and once by the Portuguese, and each time escaped.
He infiltrated the British Army, became an officer and led an attempt to sabotage Cape Town and assassinate Kitchener. Captured and sentenced to death, he tried to escape prison in Cape Town and was sent to jail in Bermuda, but escaped to the United States and became an American citizen in December 1913.
The young Duquesne
In World War I, he became a spy for Germany and sabotaged British merchant ships in South America with concealed bombs. After he was caught by federal agents in New York in 1917, he feigned paralysis for two years and disguised himself as a woman and escaped by cutting the bars of his cell and climbing over the barrier walls, thus avoiding deportation to England. 
Duquesne fled to Mexico and Europe, but in 1926 moved back to New York and assumed a new identity as Frank de Stafford Craven.
Note: Not "tweeting" but "twitting"
In 1932 he was again captured in New York by federal agents and charged with both homicide and for being an escaped prisoner.
Duquesne the New York Herald journalist in 1913.
In between all this, Duquesne served as an adviser on big game hunting and was personal shooting instructor to Theodore Roosevelt, lobbied the US Congress to fund the importation of hippopotamuses into the Louisiana bayous, worked for Joseph P. Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America and later RKO Pictures as part of the publicity staff, was a New York Herald journalist and a war correspondent.
Duquesne had become a German spy in 1914 and was sent to Bahia, Brazil as Frederick Fredericks. He planted time bombs disguised as cases of mineral samples on British ships and he was credited with sinking 22 ships. He moved to Buenos Aires and reported his own death in Bolivia at the hands of Amazonian natives. Duquesne returned to New York around May 1916 and the next month left for Europe posing as the Russian Duke Boris Zakrevsky.
Duquesne's World War II registration
In the spring of 1934, Duquesne became an intelligence officer for the Order of 76, an American pro-Nazi organisation.
Duquesne's "entrapment" in the office of Harry Sawyer, June 25, 1941,
three days before his arrest.
On June 28, 1941, following a two-year investigation, the FBI arrested Duquesne and 32 other Nazi spies on charges of relaying secret information on US weaponry and shipping movements to Germany. The 33 were sentenced to serve a total of more than 300 years in prison. Duquesne was sentenced to 18 years. In 1954 he was released owing to ill health, having served 14 years.  

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Melbourne Print Museum Typewriters

Our man in Victoria, Michael Klein (occasional guest columnist with his Typewriter Technician recollections) has alerted me to a display of typewriters in Melbourne. It is at the Melbourne Museum of Printing in West Footscray. The museum's online typewriter page is still "in preparation", but declares the museum "has about 100 typewriters. No real antiques: nothing earlier than about 1925." Despite this claim, Michael's son took photos of some being exhibited, and they include a Featherweight Blickensderfer that is definitely pre-1925:

Saturday, 25 April 2015

The Bard of Bunyah and his Brother Portable Typewriter

Australian poet Les Murray at his home in Bunyah with his
Brother Deluxe 762TR portable typewriter.
The Troglodyte on the
Privacy of Typewriters
Both of Australia's leading poets and Nobel Prize contenders use manual portable typewriters in preference to computers. One is David Malouf, of Brisbane, who uses an Erika 105 (below).
The other is Les Murray, the Bard of Bunyah, who uses a Brother Deluxe 762TR.
Les Murray typing. He can be seen typing and being interviewed about his use of a typewriter (and liquid paper!) here.
Cattle fattening land around where Les Murray lives.
Leslie Allan Murray was born in Nabiac on the North Coast of New South Wales on October 17, 1938, and grew up in Bunyah. As well as being a poet, he is an anthologist and critic. His career spans more than 40 years and he has published 30 volumes of poetry, as well as two verse novels and collections of his prose writings. His poetry has won many awards and he is regarded as "the leading Australian poet of his generation". In 1971 Murray resigned from his "respectable cover occupations" of translator at the Australian National University and public servant in Canberra to write poetry full-time. Murray has described himself as the last of the Jindyworobaks, an Australian literary movement whose white members sought to promote indigenous Australian ideas and customs, particularly in poetry. In 2007, Dan Chiasson wrote in The New Yorker that Murray is "now routinely mentioned among the three or four leading English-language poets". He is almost universally praised for his linguistic dexterity, his poetic skill and his humour. Murray's strength is the dramatisation of general ideas and the description of animals, machines or landscapes. He explores social questions through a celebration of common objects or machines, and dislikes modernism.
His poem "The Privacy of Typewriters", originally titled "The Typist" in 2012 (see top of post) before significant changes were made to it, first appeared in the New York journal Little Star last year.

I am an old book troglodyte
one who composes on paper
and types up the result
as many times as need be.

The computer scares me,
its crashes and codes,
its links with spies and gunshot,
its text that looks pre-published
and perhaps has been.

I don’t know who is reading
what I write on a carriage
that doesn’t move or ding.

I trust the spoor of botch,
whiteouts where thought deepened,
wise freedom from Spell Check,
sheets to sell the National Library.

I fear the lore
of that baleful misstruck key
that fills a whiskered screen
with a writhe of child pornography

and the doors smashing in
and the cops handcuffing me
to a gristlier video culture
coral line in an ever colder sea.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Our Own Roll of Honour

A distant relative of mine, Commodore Henry Eagle, US Navy, whose father fought in the 1812 American War of Independence.
Tomorrow marks the centenary of that day when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) made their fateful landing at Gallipoli in Turkey. From 1916 onwards, the anniversary has been marked each year by Anzac Day, a day of remembrance that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served". Sadly, while this embraces Iraq and Afghanistan, it does not include the "Frontier Wars" in either country.
A Kiwi Messenger, but not one of us
Mount Messenger in New Zealand, for example, is named after Māori Wars veteran Colonel William Bazire Messenger of the Taranaki Militia, who commanded the 10th New Zealand Contingent to the Boer War and pulled out his own teeth. But he doesn't get to be considered tomorrow. Anyway, he's not one of us. How can I be so sure? Read on, McDuff.
Anzac Day is also unofficially recognised and observed in Newfoundland, as this was an independent dominion and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was the only North American unit to fight at Gallipoli.
Didn't realise it was a competition?: The New Zealand Herald, Auckland, May 4, 1915
Like most New Zealanders and Australians tomorrow, I will be thinking of those close relatives who fought in the two World Wars. One in particular is my uncle Walter Gerald Messenger, who was at Gallipoli in 1915. He survived that slaughter and was awarded a Military Medal for his bravery at Messines, but died on the Western Front in 1917. However, as the day salutes all those who served in "all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations", we should perhaps be acknowledging all ancestors and relatives, close or otherwise, who have taken part in any military action, anywhere at any time.
Noeleen Mulholland
Happily, I am in a position to be able to do that. I have a cousin, Noeleen Mulholland, in Wellington, New Zealand, who has devoted many years of her life to growing to an incredibly healthy size our family tree, taking its roots and branches all the way back to the late 17th century, to my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Symon Messenger. Noeleen is the daughter of the late Noel Cedric Messenger MBE, a World War II veteran.
Walter Gerald Messenger
Apart from Walter Messenger, Noel was one of five other uncles who served in World Wars. Noel was awarded the Africa Star after serving in North Africa in 1940-43. Geoffrey Walter Messenger, and, for various services in the Pacific Theatre, John Thomas Webber, James William Webber, Cyril Adam Webber and Russell Aicken Webber all enlisted.
Noel Cedric Messenger MBE
Then there are two great-uncles, Rifleman Ernest Nelson Boddington, who died of a war-related illness in England in 1917, and Lieutenant William George Boddington, who was killed in action in Papua New Guinea in 1942 while serving with the Australian Army. The Boddingtons belonged to my grandmother's family.
On my grandfather's side, Lieutenant William Geoffrey Messenger, born in 1885 in Hambledon, Surrey, received a Bar to the Distinguished Service Cross before he died in 1919. Jack Stephenson Messenger, born in 1899 in Kingston, Surrey, became an air raid warden and died in 1944 at Muntok, Banka Island, Sumatra, as a result of enemy (Japanese) action. 
Noeleen's 279-A4 page long tree gives us the opportunity to salute not just Anzacs, but also our forebears in the United States and Britain who took part in conflicts - reaching back to the 1812 American War of Independence. In all, six members of the extended family served in World War I and another 15 in World War II.
The start of our family's military links can be traced to Dublin-born Henry Eagle, a major of an Irish brigade in the War of 1812, stationed on Long Island. Two of his brothers were in the British military, one a surgeon, the other a major in the East Indies. His son, also Henry, was a commodore in the US Navy and the uncle and father-in-law of Thomas Henry Messenger, born in New York in 1840. Thomas' mother was Christiana Eagle Messenger, Henry Eagle II's sister.
The mortar schooner flotilla commanded by David Dixon Porter during the April 1862 attack on the forts below New Orleans.Vessels shown, from left: Westfield, Adolph Hugel, Para, William Bacon, Oliver H. Lee, C.P. Williams, Henry Janes, George Mangham, Racer, Horace Beals, Sarah Bruen, Samuel Rotan, John Griffith, Rachel Seaman, Maria J. Carlton, Sidney C. Jones, T.A. Ward, Sea Foam, Maria A. Wood, Octorara (Porter's flagship) and Matthew Vassar.
Another member of the US branch of our family, Emma, the daughter of Harry Messenger, married Edward G. Furber, acting master of the USS Para, a schooner acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries.
Wilfred Chaundler Messenger
One of my favourite relatives is Rifle Brigade Captain Wilfred Chaundler Messenger, born in 1891 in Hampshire, England, who died in 1917 in Rouen, France, from wounds received in action at Langemarck. His commanding officer wrote, "He was a splendid soldier" and the battalion chaplain said of him, "I can say with absolute truth that I have never met an officer whom I respected more, or one whom his men loved better." In 1916 he was buried for three hours in a mine explosion in the Ypres Salient, and was so well loved by his men that he was rescued "by the devotion of his servant".  
In early 1944, the US 5th Marines liberated Tiny Messenger's Iboki Plantation in New Guinea from the Japanese occupiers.
But for colourful characters, the pick of the bunch must be Harry Trimble Messenger, born in 1901 in Guildford, England. A fearless aviator, "Tiny" Messenger drank himself to death at his Iboki plantation in New Guinea in 1941. Described as "a bit of a lad", he was nicknamed "Tiny" because he was 6ft 7in tall and weighed 280lb. He enlisted in the Australian Army in Rabaul in 1940. Malcolm Wright's The Gentle Savage says, "Messenger, another planter on the coast [he was manager at Iboki] belonged to another age. A massive man with a red Van Dyke beard, Tiny had been a pilot in the early days of the Royal Air Force ... he told of the scores of well-known women that he seduced. He was fat, boozy, riddled with malaria, and on his leg he had a large tropical ulcer that would never heal. When war was declared he disappeared.  He went to Australia, had medical treatment and volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force. He was accepted and became the most enthusiastic private in the army. It would not be long before he got sergeant's stripes. But his old enemies were at work. He got malaria and was put into hospital; the ulcer broke out again and Tiny was discharged medically unfit. He returned to Rabaul, where he did not remain long; he picked up a cargo of liquor [mostly rum] and returned to his plantation where, in a few months, he drank himself to death. When the Japanese occupied his plantation a short time afterwards, Tiny's ghost must have been very angry."
'Arsy-Glassy' Higgins
Perhaps slightly less colourful (at least according to Gertrude Bell) was Air Marshall Sir John Frederick Andrews Higgins, another aviator and ladies man. At least he had a funnier nickname: "Bum and Eyeglass" (or "Arsy-Glassy" for short). Higgins was born in Farnham, Surrey, in 1875, attended the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and was seriously wounded while serving with the Royal Artillery in the Boer War. In 1912 he was one of the first students of the Royal Aero Club's Central Flying School, was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) as a flight commander, and assisted in carrying out some of the earliest experiments into firing guns from an aircraft. He was wounded in France in 1914 but returned there in 1916 in command of No 3 Brigade in the Battle of the Somme. Promoted to Major-General in the Royal Air Force on its formation in 1918, he later had command in Iraq. Knighted in 1925, from 1930 he worked for an aircraft company in India, but with the outbreak of World War II War he was recalled and appointed Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief. 
A painting depicting the Battle of Jutland
Engineer Commander Edward Hinkman Tucker Meeson was killed on the HMS Defence in the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Previously, in the HMS Laurel, he took part at the Battle of Heligoland Bight so satisfactorily that he was promoted to commander and was made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. He was present at the sinking of the Blücher and at the evacuation of both Anzac Cove and Cape Helles.  
Albert Clay Messenger, was born in 1927 in Port Washington, New York, the grandson of Albert Ayers Messenger, one of the early property owners in Sands Point and for whom Messenger Lane (above) was named. Al Messenger served with the 88th Division (Blue Devils) in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations Infantry Company as a field medic. A source of family pride was that he could claim the distinction of having two great-grandfathers who fought for the Confederacy, one with the Army of Northern Virginia and the other with Company E 23rd Division North Carolina Infantry Regiment. What's more, he married into the Kurtz family!
Regis Gignoux, born in 1923 in Le Pin, Champtoce, France, and a graduate of the Groton School and Yale University, was a US Army Air Forces pilot with the rank of lieutenant in World War II.  His daughter Peg was designer in the display department of Shillito's, a department store in Typewriter City Cincinnati. Her great-great-great-great-grandfather, John Jay, was the first Chief Justice of the United States.
Margaret Langrish, born in 1922 in Croydon, Surrey, spent her formative years in Sydney but returned to England to serve as a radio operator in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during World War II. Harold Keith Langrish, a Flying Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, died in Germany in 1944. He is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen. Anne Seaber Harris was an officer in the Women's Royal Naval Service during World War II.
Thus, all told, I've got plenty of "family" to honour tomorrow.

End of The Canberra Times as we know it

Cool typewriting Jack left, computer-using Jack right
The end of The Canberra Times as we know it (and have done for more than 40 years) arrived on Wednesday afternoon when editor-at-large Jack Waterford announced he will leave the newspaper on April 30. Waterford, one of the Southern Hemisphere's most outstanding print newspaper editors, is also one of the last to have enjoyed a career which embraced manual typewriters (Olivetti 82s) at its concupiscent start and computers at its flaccid end.
Yesterday's Canberra Times declared in a large page one headline that this would be the "end of an era". It's more than that, much more. As Australasia's remaining print newspapers continue to be allowed to go to the dogs, The Canberra Times has been able to hold its own in revenue. Its owners, Fairfax, actually don't like to admit that, because they are so totally besotted with "new media platforms" that they think online newspapers are the only way to go. Their on-going efforts to run this print newspaper into the ground have thus far failed - for one main reason: Waterford still writes for it. And Canberrans have shown they want to read Waterford in print, not online. Waterford on the Web is just not the same thing. It's like eating Vegemite without the toast.
Waterford said, "Having recently acquired a few fresh grandchildren, I have decided to step back and enjoy some of the other things life has to offer while still maintaining an interest in politics and the people of Canberra." Waterford will continue to write a weekly column as a freelance contributor, but massive gaps will be left in The Canberra Times editions on the other five days of the week.
Waterford joined The Canberra Times as a copyboy in February 1972. In 1985 he won the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award for his pioneering work on accessing government documents through Freedom of Information legislation. He became deputy editor in 1987, editor in 1995, editor-in-chief in 2001 and editor-at-large in 2006. In 2007 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours "For service to journalism, particularly as a commentator on national politics, the law, to raising debate on ethical issues and public sector accountability, and to the community in the area of Indigenous affairs." He was also Canberra Citizen of the Year. 
John Edward O'Brien Waterford was born in the small country town of Coonamble, New South Wales (population 2998, plus several thousand more sheep) on February 12, 1952, and educated at St Joseph's College, Hunter's Hill, Sydney. He graduated in law from the Australian National University (where he used a VariTyper). He was appointed to a Jefferson Fellowship at the East-West Center in Honolulu in 1987 and is a board member of the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre.
I am proud to list Waterford among the 12 great print newspaper editors for whom I worked:
Russell William Nelson (1923-1983;
Greymouth Evening Star)
Sir Orton Sutherland Hintz (1907-1985;
The New Zealand Herald, Auckland)
Adrian Milford Deamer (1922-2000;
The Australian, Sydney)
Owen Mackay Thomson (1932-1998;
The Australian, Sydney, and The Sunday Independent, Western Australia)
Timothy Patrick "Tim Pat" Coogan (1935- ;
The Irish Press, Dublin, Ireland)
Sir Harold Matthew Evans (1928 -;
The Sunday Times, London)
Ian Leonard Hummerston (1931-2006;
The Daily News, Western Australia)
John Kenneth Hartigan (1947 -;
Sun Newspapers, Brisbane)
Robert Edward Cronin (1944 -;
The West Australian)
Warwick Bryce Wockner (1947 -;
The Townsville Bulletin)
Peter James Fray (1962- ;
The Canberra Times)