About John Thistleton

John Thistleton’s 30-plus years in the print media began at Cowra, and includes stints in Young, Wellington, Leeton, Crookwell, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, and, over 12 years, the Canberra Times.

As a reporter and managing editor John has watched the media fragment into numerous new opportunities.

A highlight for him at Goulburn was switching off a national wire service and relying on local staff and news to refresh content and see the paper flourish.

Moving to property and planning rounds in Canberra, John covered battles east and west of the city when retailing, residential and rural landscapes swiftly changed to accommodate a fast-growing population.

After leaving for a brief stint at the National Capital Authority as media manager he returned to the Canberra Times as the business editor, then a reporter covering the broader ACT region.

All Articles

Volunteer group uncovering tangible memories of Goulburn Base Hospital’s past
Thanks to keyhole surgery, gruesome surgical instruments of earlier times are a distant memory. However, history volunteers are now cataloguing items of interest from Goulburn Base Hospital, and they have discovered some explicit reminders. Two of the Goulburn Hospital Historical Cataloguing Volunteer Group volunteers, Judy Fowler and Jenny Sullivan, came across redundant gynaecology, theatre and mortuary instruments and syringes. “I said to...
Dodgy developments impacting Goulburn’s property boom
Illegal dwellings, polluting septic systems and false claims on land for sale are souring Goulburn’s unprecedented development boom. Residents unable to travel within Australia or abroad during COVID-19 lockdowns are spending more of their leisure time on rural blocks and getting into trouble building accommodation and services such as septic tanks without planning approvals. Goulburn Mulwaree Council's director of planning...
Educational nursery in Goulburn helping people and plants to bloom
It generally takes a few years before new plants in freshly turned earth produce the colour and personality that become a daily source of wonder and contentment. In the same way, Growing Abilities is developing into an educational and therapeutic nursery for people with disabilities in Ross Street, Goulburn. It began in 2007 with an idea from Challenge Southern Highlands,...
Reflections on Goulburn’s hemp crop pioneers
In the late 1990s, Goulburn City councillor Philip Fowler put forward an idea for a moneymaking venture: a council-grown hemp crop. His idea stirred police opposition, involved a controversial doctor in Sydney, as well as the Fijian ambassador, and set alight the imagination of alternative thinkers. One of those thinkers, Karl Lawton, from a family of farmers in the Gunning and...
The Goulburn Group says Member for Hume Angus Taylor is costing the region jobs and industry
The founder of a community action group that has initiated the Goulburn Wetlands, the Community Energy 4 Goulburn solar farm, and Tesla supercharge station believes innovative technology enterprises from all across the world can establish in the city. The Goulburn Group president, Urs Walterlin, says the city has everything needed for sustainable industries – blue-collar and white-collar workers; wonderful infrastructure; and...
Lost and found: Goulburn’s enduring architectural blueprint
His brilliant home designs leave architecture students spellbound. As awareness and appreciation of EC Manfred homes grow, many are being restored, sketched, photographed, studied in detail and widely celebrated. But this was not always so. During the years, Manfred’s drawings and meticulous records have been split off into different ownerships. In about 1955, his son, Herbert Manfred, loaned some of...
Is COVID-19 creating divide between city and country?
My wife, Franki, and I left Goulburn four years ago. The best part of two of those years has been spent locked down in Melbourne, which holds a world record for long, strict lockdowns. Franki and I swap numbers that we hear each day: the number of cases in NSW and Victoria, vaccine doses, and days in and out of...
Steve Hazelton restores a king’s mansion on the outskirts of Goulburn
In the 1900s, Goulburn farmer and orchardist Frederick Shepherd was hailed as the 'Apricot King' of NSW. He grew more stone fruit on the sunny slopes of ‘Teneriffe’ than anyone else in the state. The property's trees' slight elevation was enough to escape the worst of the frosts. Acclaimed architect Edmund Cooper Manfred designed a two-storey mansion for Frederick. The...
Helen, can we all give you a hug?
Put it down to women’s intuition if you like, or Goulburn’s good fortune. In 1975, a woman was put forward for the Goulburn Soroptimists who did not meet their strict membership criteria. Two categories were needed to qualify for the business and professional cohort. Helen Morgan, a teacher at the time, fitted only one. But she was determined to join....
When it comes to heritage, Goulburn has it all over Canberra
Canberra is a city of 400,000 people that has everything except the one thing in which Goulburn excels: history. Few newcomers to the heritage city appreciate this more than Adrian and Serena Beresford-Wylie. They have lived in several Australian capital cities, including Canberra, where they met at university. They plan to retire in Goulburn and enjoy the historic attributes and...
Bruce Harvey knows Goulburn from the ground up
Years ago when money was scarcer compared to today, Goulburn had an abundance of young blokes happy to cut wood, and collect wool and bottles to raise money for everyone in need. They paid for annual picnics for children from St John’s Orphanage, St Joseph’s Orphanage, and the Gill Home for Boys, and gave the wood to people feeling the...
Ducks and chooks nudge aside dogs and cats in Aussie backyards
Move aside dogs and cats, ducks and chooks are making a comeback to backyards. Two of the most accomplished members of Goulburn Poultry Fanciers' Society are aflutter in their growing popularity. One of them, Danny Benn, was on the spot when his Indian runner duck, Ferdinand, created history earlier this year. “It was quite warm – it felt like summer,” says...
How a traditional restorer is saving Goulburn’s historic St Clair
A specialist restorer of heritage buildings who has stopped many decades of damaging rising damp at historical St Clair in Goulburn hopes a final treatment of lime mortar can finish the intricate job. Owen Carragher says new foundations, an electric pump, poultice and traditional lime mortar that allows a wall to breath are among measures to ensure Goulburn’s second-oldest home...
Antony family makes Goulburn their own
From mixed grills and Mazdas, to football and flamboyance, the Antony family has given Goulburn a unique local flavour. Brothers Tony, Michael, Platon and Chris played and coached rugby league in the Group 8, Group 9 and Group 21 competitions, and beyond, with notable success.  Their hard-working parents Andrew and Theodora were well regarded for their hospitality in restaurants and...
How long can Bungonia fly under the radar?
The exodus of people from metropolitan areas into the clean, fresh countryside is swelling the numbers of new faces at Bungonia village, 28km southeast of Goulburn. From crowded coastal regions, inner Sydney and Canberra, recent arrivals are slowly turning rural Bungonia into a diverse group of food producers and workers from the city. Moira McGinity has watched Bungonia change from...
Long road ahead for honey bees and their keepers
After scrambling to rescue thousands of honey beehives from the horrendous Black Summer bushfires that tore through the NSW South Coast’s eucalyptus forests in 2019-2020, the Kershaws are slowly recovering. Drought-breaking rain has helped revive pastures and nourish many of their bees.  But Gundaroo beekeepers Laurie Kershaw, his brother Arthur, and sons James, Matthew and Grant, worked frantically to get through...