Long-serving Forbes Advocate managing editor Barry Shine has been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to print media.
In more than five decades with the local paper, Barry has covered this community’s triumphs and tragedy – and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who loves Forbes more.
Barry was first employed at the Advocate in 1963 – his parents ran the Albion Hotel across the road and the paper needed someone to sweep the floors in the busy Christmas period.
A few weeks turned into a few months, and he was indentured as an apprentice – a hand and machine compositor – in 1964.
In those days the Advocate was owned by Jack and Barney Taylor and printed on site – 15 to 20 people worked out the back.
“We had our own cricket team, played social cricket during the week,” Barry recalled.
While the job was busy, they found plenty of time for fun as well - from the initiation of apprentices (think ink in awkward places) to toilet humour.
“You’d be sitting on the throne and next thing someone would slide Shellite under the door and light it up,” Barry laughed.
“There’d be flames licking up, you’d have to stand up on the toilet.
“And someone was always putting a bucket of water on top of the door – when you went in it would fall and you’d get soaked.”
It’s almost impossible to capture the changes in media in a few sentences, but Barry worked through epic shifts in the industry from hot metal to digital, from inky fingers to Facebook, from the photographer’s darkroom to smartphones.
While the workplace and faces around him changed dramatically, Barry stayed and adapted.
The printing of the paper was moved to Parkes, then Orange, and when an opening for an advertising representative came up Barry stepped into an office role.
He was appointed managing editor in 1984 when Roel ten Cate left – and would steer the local paper through changes of ownership and drastic changes in technology for the next nearly three decades.
“I’ve worked for everyone,” he said.
“Packer, Macquarie Publications, Fairfax.”
Those years saw the paper layout computerised and photography digitised.
Barry covered droughts and floods, the fires that destroyed the Century Theatre and the Albion Hotel.
“Driving the kilometre or so to the office to get the camera I still remember I thought the whole town was on fire,” Barry said of the Century Theatre fire.
“Flames leaped out of the theatre windows and doors metres high.”
While a newspaperman has to be ready to roll out of bed at 2am, other jobs were months in the planning.
Barry dined with Prince Charles on the royal visit in 1994 and met prime ministers Bob Hawke and John Howard.
He wrote about Forbes Olympian Phillip Adams, local representation on the State and national sporting fields, and visits from legends including golfers Greg Norman and Jack Newton.
Carrying the Olympic torch through Forbes on its journey to the Sydney Games was an incredible moment.
The hardest day? October 12, 2002 when three Forbes Platypi rugby players were killed in the bombings in Bali on their end-of-season trip.
The eyes of the world’s media were on the tragedy … it was entirely different for someone who knew the families to get in touch, not to chase a story but to let them know the Advocate was there to help in any way they could.
But it’s not just the big stories that make a local paper: it’s the “little” ones.
It’s the birthday parties and wedding anniversaries, it’s hearing about and recognising the quiet achievers.
It’s about being a voice for the community and promoting everything the town has to offer.
“I always said the Advocate belonged to the people of Forbes,” Barry explained. “It’s owned by the readers.”
Barry is quick to point out the ways Forbes has progressed in his years at the Advocate: the growth of Red Bend Catholic College, Walkers AGnVET and Bernardi's just to name a few success stories.
“I think I did the first ad for Tony Bernardi when he had a fruit and veg shop on the corner,” Barry said.
“Look at Kerry and Des Shead, Ron Spice, Robert McKeown, Ken Sly and Ian Davies at Forbes Machinery.
“There’s a lot of development north of the railway line.
“Tell me this isn’t the land of opportunity.”
Barry retired in 2013 and is busier than ever.
You’ll still often find him at the Advocate, letting them know about a good yarn.
He’s a familiar face around the golf club and bowling greens too.
Looking back over his career, Barry can only reflect that “I loved working for the people of Forbes.”
He thanked his wife Sue for her support over many years, along with daughters Emma and Amy.
“I left them at the kitchen table many, many times to go to a football game or a birthday party, I always had a camera in the car,” he said.
And then there were the staff – too many to name – who he could always rely on to do their bit so it all came together.
There’s no shortage of people who got a start at the Advocate and went on to stellar careers, but one stand-out is Sandra Roberts.
Barry recruited her after a work experience stint, she went on to edit a major weekly magazine in New Zealand.
But the list of those he feels privileged to have worked with is lengthy.
“The staff of the Advocate – from yesteryear to today – have done a great job,” he said.
Finally, he thanked the community.
“It was the people who made the job: the readers, advertisers, contributors … everyone.”