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

Amazing village history in gold rush-era Majors Creek cottage
A character-filled heritage cottage created by combining what was once a general store and local bakery has been listed for sale in the tranquil village of Majors Creek. On a little farmlet with well-established veggie plots, the three-bedroom cottage has quirky features that cannot be replicated. “It is like picking up an antique,” said Kelly Allen, listing agent with Luton,...
Community spirit as people help out in a bushfire aftermath
Bewildered cows were bellowing into the eerie grey silence after losing all of the grass to eat beneath their feet. Around them, dead bloated black sheep and cattle littered the burned paddocks. Scattered around the small towns of Tumbarumba, Batlow and Adelong, farmhouse remnants settled beneath powder-soft ash. After five days without feed, the cows had grown so desperate they...
Community celebration provides much needed distraction for Boorowa
For the farming village of Boorowa in the Hilltops area of NSW, events on Australia Day provided some much needed distraction from the drought while bringing people together for a celebration of community. A deacon for the Catholic Church, Patrick Whale, was named Boorowa’s Australia Day Citizen of the Year, in recognition for his work in Saint Patrick’s parish presiding over...
Harden markets spark revival of bush artists
A small-town blacksmith, an African basket weaver and braided whip maker give Handmade in Harden’s monthly community markets cool authenticity. Held on the third Sunday of every month, the markets will resume on 16 February. Community-driven, they are thriving on homespun entertainment and drought-defying luck. The blacksmith from Koorawatha between Young and Cowra sold so few items last October it was...
Home-town loyalty drives Queanbeyan success
Local businesses in Queanbeyan thrive on the sort of fierce loyalty that sustains the city’s exceptional sporting community. It’s contagious, as Paul Nicholl discovered in 2014 when he joined Bayldon Ag as a salesman. Three months later Paul became general manager. Three years later, in 2017, he stepped up again and bought the business from his boss, Roger Keft. On...
Goulburn gives movie makers a house of horrors
Arts & Culture
Men and women have been hanged in Goulburn. In the 1800s, at the crest of residential streets and near the Court House they were left for all to see. Today the old town is serving as the backdrop for a new slasher horror movie, Alice. Dan Sanguineti of Canberra and Goulburn-based colleague Michael Watson agreed to shoot their latest film...
Beekeepers face lean future in fire’s aftermath
Bee pollinating and honey-making will remain grounded long after the drought and bushfire crises subside says apiarist Laurie Kershaw. Laurie scrambled to pull thousands of hives from the path of the Currowan blaze on the South Coast. The Kerhsaws are based between Gundaroo and Bungendore. Annually, they contract their bees for almond pollination in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area near Darlington...
Brothers breathe life into vintage tractors at Wombat
Chris Holmes marvels at the ingenuity of old tractors. For 19 years in the village of Wombat near Harden, Chris has watched people just like him unload their trusty machines from semi-trailers for Australia Day. Many compete in tractor pulling. In the hands of a good driver the tractor, while pulling a sled, becomes life-like. “The power goes from one...
Goulburn heritage harmonises with light touches
Restorations, renovations, additions and multi-million-dollar residential property sales are throwing a spotlight on Goulburn’s collection of heritage homes. As well as lifting prices in the historic, prestige residential market, investment from Sydney and Canberra means the owners of the limited number of heritage homes in a leafy, sought-after precinct can afford to splash out on designers, tradies, interior decorators and...
Teaching working dogs to win across a scorched, burned land
These kelpie pups are growing up in a drought and bushfire-ravaged industry which is becoming more fragile with each day ending without rainfall. From Koonama Working Kelpies Stud, the pups’ owner and trainer Nick Foster fears for the future of stockmen. “If we don’t get rain soon there are going to be so many people in the livestock industry that...
A mighty concrete canvass for Wallendbeen
Imaginative artists have teamed up with ambitious communities to paint massive murals on concrete silos throughout rural Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. Since about 2015 their creations have filled stark outback skies with star-lit nights, red-breasted rosellas, working sheepdogs and larger-than-life pioneers. Tens of thousands of tourists travel to long-forgotten rail sidings, reviving the spirits of close-knit, one-pub places. These...
Barnes Store and Café a cut above the ordinary
Food & Wine
For a hairdresser, Stephen Byrne makes a delicious meat pie. His beef and mushroom, Thai curry chicken and Texas pulled-pork pies are bigger than your standard meat pie. Maybe because there's so much riding on them, and on the other hand-made goodies Stephen and his wife Wendy make every day. Preparing and selling food underpins the couple’s tree-change venture, Barnes...
Raising a great war horse called ‘Bill The Bastard’
Earlier this month a small group of people from Harden-Murrumburrah set off in their cars and by train to Victoria for the running of the Jericho Cup. Their 1634-kilometre round trip to and from Warrnambool was quite a trek. Those on the train hired a car in Melbourne to complete their journey, while others made a holiday of it, taking...
Use super funds to upgrade grid for renewables: Flanery
Southern NSW hydro and solar power operator Tony Flanery says the Australian Government should use superannuation funds to pay for upgrading the national grid for renewable energy. Australia’s aging transmission system is, according to many in the energy industry, holding back cheaper renewable sources. The Australian Energy Market Operator says the quick rise of renewables will need billions of dollars...
Why people in small places matter to Mathew Trinca
You might think Yass and Galong village would be inconsequential to the person overseeing a national mission to present Australia’s history and culture to the world, but the two regional towns fit neatly into Dr Mathew Trinca’s agenda of exploring and connecting Australians to their history and heritage. Re-appointed in February as the National Museum of Australia’s director for another...
Sparkling Cooma home in surprise location
When the owners of 27 Soho Street bought this four-bedroom home overlooking Cooma 12 years ago, they were well aware it needed attention, but its seclusion suited their desire for privacy. On an elevated, one-acre block, the home belonged to a local doctor for many years. “When you drive down the street you don’t even know it is there; it is...