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

Madden’s trucks run non-stop keeping up with Aldi and McCain
As Australia’s population of 25 million people rises every minute, gleaming white trucks from Harden are so busy delivering food they need more drivers. Madden’s Refrigerated Transport employs about 40 drivers, and could use another 30. A fleet of 25 prime-movers and up to 30 trailers are moving groceries around the clock, seven days a week. The Australian Trucking Association...
Harden’s new social hub for sport, singing, dancing and dining
A debutante ball and football presentation night are social highlights in Harden- Murrumburrah. You expect to see almost everyone out and about at such gala events. The ageing Harden Country Club was threatening to dim the excitement until an architect in Canberra, who once worked alongside the legendary Romaldo Giurgola in the 1980s on Parliament House, joined proponents of the...
Bring back National Poultry Show to Canberra
Poultry enthusiasts Dale Ashton and Peter Shands could well win back a national show Sydney took from Canberra in 2016, depriving the national capital of a popular Queen’s birthday holiday weekend event. President of the Harden Poultry Club, Dale also judges champion chooks in almost every capital city in Australia while Peter is a prominent poultry figure in Canberra and...
Now and then: The loads on Yass country roads
Taking their team of 14 bullocks up Good Hope Hill near Yass in 1897, William Lawrence and his son Alf look to have stepped from Henry Lawson’s epic poem, The Teams, penned eight years earlier, that opens with a cloud of dust on the long white road. While many of the bush roads around Yass continue sending up a cloud...
Surgeon’s passion for nature set in stone near Braidwood
Country surgeon Dick Varley embraced sustainability and loved working with rocks. And now, his craftsmanship and love of the Australian bush are evident in a new, magnificent north-facing home 30 minutes from Braidwood. Earth-coloured rock walls enhance ‘Bangalay’ inside and outside alongside a sparkling lap pool thanks to Dick, or as his children and grandchildren call him - Rocky. His...
Light horse leader rises again in Murrumburrah
The Australian Light Horse founder James Alexander Kenneth Mackay will be celebrated like never before with the unveiling of a statue in Harden-Murrumburrah next month. As well as mustering a cavalry of 80 men at Murrumburrah, Mackay fought the squattocracy, British military command and campaigned for a fairer society. His great-grandson, Harden farmer Michael Baldry, says by creating the first...
Hand-crafted cafe and historic homestead open many options
A young man walked into the timber slab hut wearing a smile, a ponytail and his ukulele. “Can I have a cup of coffee if I play?” he asked the owner of the Rollonin Cafe, Renata Ryan, who returned his smile. Her late husband Tony would have been even happier. He liked the early days, when swaggies called offering to...
The rider from Rohan who bought the Dragon Inn
Rohan was the land of the horse lords in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and the name Yvonne Harrack chose 23 years ago for her property adjoining Kosciuszko National Park. Conjure the movie Lord of the Ring’s Riders of Rohan galloping across the grassy plains and you have a picture of Spring Flat Estate near Delegate, where Yvonne named her...
Snowy 2 hydro bounty to flow out to Hilltops region
Billions of dollar’s worth of investment in the wider Canberra region will also bring growth to the Hilltops region north-west of the national capital. The Snowy 2 pumped hydro renewable energy project will create work for large and small contractors and indirect benefits to the main towns of Boorowa, Harden and Young, according to Dr Edwina Marks, general manager of...
Belinda’s new Murrumbateman business reaches new heights at Yass Chamber awards
When former Canberra business and marketing executive Belinda Head grew tired of the twice-daily bus journey from and to Murrumbateman on the Barton Highway, she created a healthy alternative for herself – and the village. Belinda is one of three winners from Murrumbateman of the annual Yass Valley Business Chamber awards. Her new business, Physical-Ease Recovery Clinic, was judged start-up...
Three bakers and a bright bird spark up Harden
A blue and gold macaw called Esmay and Campos coffee surprise weary travellers in Jackson’s brick-paved courtyard at Harden. For people who live in small towns and villages west of Canberra, the bigger surprise is three bakers under one roof. In 2013 Trent Jackson, a carpenter from Yass who switched trades to become a baker, joined his wife Nicole in...
Invest in an era when buildings passed the test of time
Look at the top of the arched roof in this lovely old inn near Cathcart on the wind-swept Monaro plains, two hours south of Canberra. Built in 1838, the timber and iron ridge puts many of the shiny new apartment towers rising into the Canberra skyline to shame. “The ridgepole (main spine of the roof) is as straight as it...
A glaring error in Wyatt’s History of Goulburn
The History of Goulburn 1820-1941, regarded as the most authoritative source for the city’s development since the arrival of European settlers, contains a glaring error that should have been corrected decades ago. First published in 1941, and subsequently widely quoted for subjects ranging from civic buildings to the arrival of rail, the book is wrong on an outrageous claim of...
Harden business group wants more ambitious growth model
Growth projections for the Hilltops region are extremely negative and pessimistic, according to Harden Murrumburrah Regional Development Corporation. North-west of Canberra, Hilltops Council formed in 2016 when Boorowa, Harden and Young councils merged into one entity. While many Canberrans see Boorowa and Harden as affordable places for owning a home, Hilltops' latest economic and growth strategy predicts 0.4 per cent...
Escape to a Bega cottage garden
This historic weatherboard cottage in Bega has enough charm to attract buyers from Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. The listing agent, Greg Coman, would not be surprised if the buyer came from interstate. If ever the Bega Valley featured in an episode of Escape from the City, then this 1898 weatherboard cottage with climbing roses and iron roof would be the...
Wild ideas to save St John’s orphanage
Western Sydney developer Ammar Khan says he has a redevelopment plan including a 156-unit, four-star hotel that would finance the restoration of St John’s old orphanage in Goulburn. Mr Khan, who attracted 2.6 per cent of the vote as an independent candidate for Chifley in 2016, says he took his plan to owner John Ferrara two years ago as well...