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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]

“The Evening Star,”

The Evening Star,” one of the two daily newspapers published in Dunedin, was founded in June, 1863, by G. A. Henningham and Co., edited by Mr. George Henningham. and printed at the office of Mills. Dick and Co., in Stafford Street. After a time the property passed into the hands of Mr. W. J. Henningham. and was printed by him on premises in Manse Street (previously occupied by Shaw, Harnett and Co.), adjacent to the present Wain's Hotel. Mr. J. A. Torrance was then the manager and the printer; Mr. M. Cohen served as a junior reporter; the late Mr. George Minifie was pressman; and Mr. Gilbert Buchanan (who has been printer to the paper since the back end of the seventies) was Mr. Henningham's first apprentice. Mr. Minifie died some years afterwards, having worked the first machine (a single feeder Wharfdale) employed by the paper, while Mr. Torrance severed his connection many years ago to become chaplain to the asylums, hospital, and gaol—a post that he has worthily held ever since. In June, 1869, Mr. Henningham, whose proprietorship of the “Sun” (a morning paper that was started in opposition to the “Daily Times” and ran a course of about 100 days under the editorship of Mr. Julius Vogel) had landed him in serious monetary difficulties, was obliged to call his creditors together, and eventually his interest in the “Evening Star” was sold by the liquidators to Mr. George Bell (who had also been connected with the editorial staff of the “Daily Times”) who was then publishing in Stafford Street, at the premises of Mills, Dick and Co., a small evening paper called the “Independent.” At that time the “Star” was issued from premises in Stafford Street (now forming part of Ross and Glendining's hat factory) that in the early days of Otago had been the home of the “Colonist,” a morning paper edited by Mr. F. J. Moss, well known in the early politics of Otago, for Mr. T. Lambert, one of Otago's pioneer printers. Mr. Bell's first act on acquiring proprietorship was to remove his plant to Brown's, at the corner of Princes and Stafford Streets, and under that roof was also published the “Telegraph” (a threepenny weekly that had a very brief career), and the “Southern Mercury,” which will ever be associated with the memories of Vincent Pyke and Thomas Bracken, who put some of their best work into its pages. Mr. R. O. Carrick was also mining editor of the “Mercury.” Mr. Bell at once amalgamated the “Independent” with the “Star,” and for a short time issued a morning paper, named the “Morning Star,” which was eventually merged in the “Guardian,” under the editor ship of the late Robert J. Creighton, for whom Mr. George Fenwick was business manager. It was after this period that the real upbuilding of the “Evening Star” began. Mr. Bell bestowed upon it a vast amount of care; he undertook the editing of it himself, and gradually gathered about him a strong staff. The activity thus displayed led to the firm establishment of the paper and gave it the vitality which enabled it in after years to outlast all rivals. Mr. Bell held the reins as editor till 1895, when, having reached a very advanced age, he handed the business over to his family, who converted it into a limited liability concern; Mr. Bell died in February, 1899. The first commercial manager appointed by Mr. Bell was Mr. J. B. Whiteway, who was succeeded in 1872 by Mr. J. W. Jago, who still retains that position. The “Star' has always been a very steady employer in all departments, matters having been so arranged of set purpose by Mr. Bell when he took control, and have been so continued since then by his successors. In witness of this it may be mentioned that seven of the present employees, Mr. M. Cohen (editor), Mr. A. E. Cohen (the principal sub-editor), Mr. J. W. Jago (manager), Mr. G. Buchanan (printer), Mr. Andrew Walker (one of the readers), Mr. T. J. Walker (chief of the reporting staff), and Mr. Joseph Deaker (compositor) have seen over thirty years' continuous service; and several others have been employed from the early seventies. Stability has also marked the “Star's” politics, and it has a reputation for the reliability page 232 of its news. It has been represented in the Press Gallery at Wellington uninterruptedly since 1884 by Mr. Albert E. Cohen, who was chairman of the Gallery for three years, and is its oldest member. The public trust the “Star” so well that it enters nearly every home in Dunedin and suburbs, and it can without boasting claim to be one of the most widely circulated journals in New Zealand.