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

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...
Meet the grain growers who refused to let Cunningar die
People’s enterprise knows no bounds in the Harden farming community. At the peak of summer’s annual harvest, when drivers waited in the blazing heat to unload their wheat at the Cunningar silos east of town, children would go from truck to truck selling them icy-cold drinks. About five years ago the imposing concrete silos and rail siding inspired landscape artist...
Migrants and money cannot solve rural skills shortage
A skills shortage in Harden Murrumburrah and district shows no sign of easing despite offers of higher wages and housing. North-west of Canberra in Murrumburrah, businesswoman Karen Kemp runs the Lighthorse Hotel and would open seven days a week and take on more casual staff if she could find a chef. One chef already works at the popular hotel and...
Exciting young talent’s EP offers message of hope for youth
Arts & Culture
One of the Canberra region's most exciting emerging artists has taken on the youth scourge of social media in his debut extended play album. Harry Cleverdon’s six-track EP From My Side of the Stage tackles the issue of how young lives can be destroyed after experiencing rejection by their peer groups on social media and through phone texts. From My Side of...
Boorowa wins an admirer and op shop champion
Of the excellent ideas Lyn Diskon has had while travelling to and from Canberra, two stand out. The first lit up in 2012 when she bought a tiny, one-bedroom sandstone cottage in Boorowa. Later, enjoying the country lifestyle in a village of about 1600 people, the second idea blossomed with Boorowa Rotary Club – to open an op-shop. “Some years ago,...
High prices help farmers but butchers feel pinch as drought bites
In 42 years as a butcher, Peter Lindbeck has never seen lamb prices so high due to the unrelenting drought, leaving no room for profit margins. As well as running Lindbeck’s Butchery in Queanbeyan, Mr Lindbeck assesses apprentice butchers throughout the Territory for the Canberra Institute of Technology, which allows him to see inside numerous other butcher shops. “The amount...
Heavy lifting starts for Canberra’s biltong boys
Food & Wine
For a brief moment, the four mates in their 20s thought they had bitten off more than they could chew. But the quartet behind local food phenomenon Barbell biltong stepped up for one another and pushed on, aided by older brothers and business advisers. Brothers Luke and Rory Rathbone, and their friends Tom Hutchison and Matt Laing met in a...
In the long dry, another pump taps into Murrumbidgee River
One of the most ecologically damaged rivers in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB), the Murrumbidgee River, will be drawn on again to provide water security for Boorowa, north-west of Canberra. At a time when population growth and climate change are expected to put more pressure on rivers, a scoping study is investigating a new bulk water supply pipeline on the...
Taking up the reins of running the Lighthorse Hotel
Karen Kemp needs to get out of the kitchen and back into marketing Murrumburrah’s Lighthorse Hotel which she has leased since late last year. On weekends when events like the recent Harden Picnic races are held, the hotel’s 12 rooms and restaurant are booked out. But to keep the momentum going, she desperately needs a second chef so she can...
Historic Jugiong stone cottage to become a museum of local history
Growing numbers of tourists are traipsing through the village of Jugiong, 90-minutes’ drive from Canberra and conveniently situated just off the Hume Highway, for the food and the historic atmosphere. Now, a family with deep local roots is delving further into their own past with the restoration of a historic bluestone cottage that goes back to the origins of European...
Constable’s Residence’s arresting beauty
A grand era has been recaptured in the Constable's Residence at 174 Wallace Street, Braidwood. History literally towers around the Constable’s Residence. Yet inside this charming old home, peacefulness pervades the living areas and bedrooms because of their size. Tourists often pause at 174 Wallace Street to admire the mighty tree that cloaks the large block in tranquillity. Planted in...
Vision but no money (yet) for Murrumburrah’s old mill
About 80-minutes’ drive north-west from Canberra, 4600 to 6000 cars each day pass the historic old mill in Harden Murrumburrah. The historic building is sited on Murrumburrah’s main thoroughfare on the Burley Griffin Way, and for many years locals and passersby have wondered whether there's a future use for the complex. Sydneysiders Greg Medway and his partner Robin Cooper purchased...
Poultry processor needs 40 per cent of Goulburn’s daily water
A poultry farmer wants to use 40 per cent of Goulburn’s daily water consumption to process 192,000 chooks a day in an $83 million planning application awaiting NSW Government approval. The water must be fresh out of the tap. Recycled water is unsuitable. And with 192,000 birds a day to be processed at full capacity and 14 litres of water...
English chapter ends at Braidwood’s TorPeas Restaurant
Wandering around a cow paddock in her dressing gown on the Isle of Wight, Jane Norris is reminiscing on her restaurant adventure in Braidwood. Running on her British sense of humour and her mum’s favourite recipes, Jane developed a strong following from the former private residence, built in the 1860s under a broad, corrugated-iron red roof which today greets Canberrans...
The talented Mr Shearsby, the Renaissance Man of Yass
Arts & Culture
No one knew the young bank clerk newly arrived in Yass in 1898 was a genius. They could not have suspected he would become famous and make their town his own. Three months after the bank transferred Alfred Shearsby from Yass to Wentworth, Shearsby was back of his own accord. Now his life is celebrated in a book, a street...