Obituary: Life-long newspaper man Jim Woods

Jim Woods,  in front of Queanbeyan’s John Gale statue. John Gale was the founder of The Golden Age (The Queanbeyan Age) in 1860.

Jim Woods, in front of Queanbeyan’s John Gale statue. John Gale was the founder of The Golden Age (The Queanbeyan Age) in 1860.

It is great sadness that we report the passing of Jim Woods on Tuesday, December 27, 2016. A former co-proprietor and Chairman of Directors of The Queanbeyan Age, the late Mr Woods was a person who was admired and respected by all who knew him.

He began in the newspaper industry as an apprentice compositor in March 1928 and became one of the first in the state to complete studies by correspondence, while gaining training and experience with The Temora Independent.

He had been a paper boy from his early school days after a friend asked him to stand in for him for a couple of weeks at The Temora Independent office, where he was the sole paper boy. Not owning a bicycle, he delivered the papers on foot. The Independent proprietor, John Arthur Bradley, apparently was impressed with his performance and offered him a position at his newspaper, which eventually led to a six-year apprenticeship.

Two days after the offer was made, (March 12, 1928), he joined the staff as a probationer (of “Jack of all Trades”).

It was the beginning of a life-long association with the Bradley family – firstly as an employee for 22 years and then for the next 44 years as a partner in 11 newspapers and printing businesses throughout the southern part of NSW. His headquarters were Crookwell in 1949 and then at Queanbeyan from 1958.

Jim moved to Queanbeyan on April 23, 1958 where he took over the management and part ownership of The Queanbeyan Age in partnership with the Bradley and Shakespeare brothers (who owned The Canberra Times) and later John Fairfax over a period of 38 years.

Since taking over The Age, Jim had overseen its successful transition from a bi-weekly broadsheet to one of the most successful tri-weekly publications in the state.Jim handed over the managing directorship of The Age to son Bob in 1991, but remained as Chairman of Directors of The Queanbeyan Publishing Company.

When The Age was sold to Rural Press in December 1994, the Woods family had three generations involved in all facets of the printing industry – production, news gathering, advertising, pictorial, printing, circulation plus the full commercial printing operations.

During his 66 years in the printing industry, Jim had a proprietorial and management interest in 11 country newspapers including Crookwell Gazette, Queanbeyan Age, Braidwood Dispatch, Cooma Monaro Express, Batemans Bay Post, Moruya Examiner, Narooma News, Bega District News, Eden Magnet, Young South West Pictorial and the Narrandera Argus. In fact, as a partner in Southern Publishers (based in Bega) the Batemans Bay Post and Narooma News newspapers were founded.

His sense of duty, service and wise counsel extended to the NSW Country Press Association, for which he received the “Tribute to Service” award for 50 years of service to the newspaper industry.

He served on the technical committee of three for many years.

In 1995 Jim launched a book of his own memoirs – Looking Back – covering his interesting life in the newspaper industry together with his family and many other interests he had experienced down through the years.

Jim’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, January 10, at 1.30pm at the Anglican Parish Church of Christ Church, Rutledge St, Queanbeyan. It will be followed by interment at the Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery.