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

No sure-fire solution for rampant deer
Professional shooter Rob Gallina has killed 370 deer in one outing while aerial culling over the Monaro district. Generally he works through the night for farmers shooting deer with .243 and .308-calibre rifles. On the ground one night, he shot 68 deer. Mr Gallina says numbers have exploded in Canberra. He says government agencies desperate to cull rampant feral deer...
Young doctors, dance band veteran breathe life into Harden
In August 2008 I drove to Harden 90 kilometres west of Canberra to write about a small wheat town dying. No where was this more evident than in a $3.5 million medical centre bequeathed by a dentist Geoff Kruger, who had died years earlier, leaving a generous legacy. At the time Harden’s doctor for 30 years, Dr Yusuf Khalfan, 62,...
The fiery night that could save your life
On Saturday night at Wee Jasper, when fireworks explode in the crisp autumn air after dusk, Michelle Waters will shed a tear for her son Duncan. The sighs of wonder from under showers of fiery sparks remind Michelle that Duncan’s legacy continues. “He was just a boy’s boy, I suppose. He was one of the blokes,” Michelle says. “One of...
Possum on barbie novel, but no match for goat meat’s popularity
Food & Wine
When a ringtrail possum arrived in his regular order of processed game meat, Fyshwick butcher Matthew Hicks thought it was an accident. “I was going to send it back, but thought, I will write it out on the board, and it sold,” he says. Although resembling skinned cats, whole possums are finding buyers according to the Unique Meats butcher, who...
Crazy dogs, Irish and Scottish pipes recipe for national award
Arts & Culture
How to win a national award at the Australian Celtic Festival, the premier Celtic event of NSW in Glen Innes: Take sisters talented with playing spoons and midwifery, an ANU physicist from Queanbeyan, an electrical engineer from the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking station, and a coffee-van operator. Have them play obscure instruments, like the uillean pipes. Add kelpies. The crazier...
Goulburn waits on election outcome for property investors to return to market
Goulburn’s long honeymoon with property investors is waning. The love affair has served the city well, with homes under $450,000 being snapped up at auctions, and local builders constructing new homes on vacant land. Typical of redevelopments around the place was the subdivision in West Goulburn, which culminated in the sale of 8 Francis Street. Ray White Goulburn principal Justin...
Yass businesses spark momentum atop a wave of new arrivals
Four years ago Adam and Brooke Bantock, temporarily in Murrumbateman after five years in hospitality in Hong Kong and Shanghai, took such a shine to Yass they bought a big weatherboard home and opened a 50-seat bistro, Clementine, now a one-hat restaurant with a rising reputation. Four years ago, a juice van operator, Sophie Peer, and a coffee van operator,...
More spending for Goulburn as playground enlivens Victoria Park
More than most people, retired Faithfull Street couple Kevin and Bev Thompson know Victoria Park, the target of major spending in this year’s Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s operational plan. The council is spending an unprecedented $155 million on capital works over four years from 2017-2021. And it will soon ask the community to raise even more money. From main street upgrades,...
Goulburn welcomes NSW’s next step on rail trails
Among well-wishers to mark the beginning of work on the Tumbarumba-to-Rosewood Rail Trail later this month will be Goulburn’s Mayor Bob Kirk and fellow rail trail advocate David Mullen. After many years campaigning for the Goulburn-to-Crookwell Rail Trail, Cr Kirk and Mr Mullen see the pilot project in the mountains as a significant step for other projects across the state....
Booming Murrumbateman to grow retail heart
The fast-growing rural village of Murrumbateman is about to become a country town, complete with a pedestrian-friendly retail heart. Sydney-based developer Hewlett Property Group, which has commercial centres in Canberra and elsewhere in regional NSW, is building Fairley Square, a town centre of four buildings with eight separate small and medium tenancies. The development has planning approval and work on...
Wacky Aunt Matilda to cut children’s screen time
Health & Wellbeing
Free of screens and the addiction of checking them repeatedly, Carly Saeedi found her children happier, calmer and busy exploring their own backyard over the last summer holidays. “When we didn’t have to worry about screens for homework or any other purpose, they disappeared, the kids forgot about them,” Carly says. “The kids had this wonderful summer outside, we took...
Historic Yass property boasts heritage features and quality finishes from a golden era
Australia’s tremendous wool wealth is evident in the grand homes of graziers, and the people who served rural communities that sprang up to capitalise on the Golden Fleece. One such residence, Wadden Lodge, is on the market at Yass. The sandstock brick home with corrugated iron roof and wrought-iron verandah has glorious timber floors and ceilings throughout. On an elevated...
Looking afresh at how we lived in Goulburn
David Carmichael, Fran O’Flynn and Leon Oberg’s evocative images from lonely backroads, the sky above the city, and the history right under our noses show Goulburn in its best light. An old house on Thornford Road, a historic, largely intact Tolwong Mines at Shoalhaven Gorge and the little known Cookbundoon slate quarry behind Towrang are typical of David and Leon's widely-admired work....
Champagne bus bound for last hoorah
Arts & Culture
In cars with fogged-up windows by the road's edge from Goulburn to Crookwell they wait excitedly for Desley Rowley’s champagne coach. The bus stops for ticket-holders to Crookwell Amateur Dramatic Society’s music hall productions. The 56-seater has a bottomless glass of champagne, served with Desley’s famous Cote d’Or chocolates and fresh strawberries. Theatre-goers from Sydney, Wollongong and Canberra climb aboard...
Indigenous reading program gets kids exploring the joy of reading
Teachers struggling to help students with their reading need only look at 16 Indigenous students at Queanbeyan South Primary School who have set a new benchmark for improving their reading. Now, the national program is looking to help more pupils in Canberra and the surrounding region. Indigenous Reading Program chief executive Dan Billing says the children’s results in 2018 were...
The swamp workers turning Goulburn green
Turning a rubbish-strewn old brick pit into a bird and frog-rich wetland has changed more than the landscape in Goulburn. Entrenched opposition to green causes is subsiding too, like the unsightly boxthorn clumps that once peppered the scoured-out land near the golf course that today is Goulburn Wetlands. To what extent respect for the natural environment has grown in Goulburn...