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

The keepers of Goulburn’s Country Show vision
The wooden saleyards on Goulburn’s southern edge are long closed. New rural subdivisions are replacing livestock grazing in the paddocks. A long, winding ribbon of homes on either side of the Hume Highway, stretching from Sydney and the Southern Highlands, is creeping closer to Goulburn. Yet, as urbanism spreads, the Goulburn Agricultural, Pastoral and Horticultural Society (AP&H) celebrates and maintains the historic...
Long-forgotten ashes of 70 people found in Goulburn funeral home cupboard
Buying a property and uncovering a surprise in one of the cupboards is not unusual. When Kristy Meizer bought a funeral business in Goulburn she discovered a barbecue and an old vacuum cleaner. And the ashes of 70 people in urns. Measuring about 30 cm long and 16-17 cm wide, the plastic urns had a lid on top and were...
Flying to snow is no time to throw caution to the wind
Flying to the snowfields should be the icing on top of an idyllic weekend, especially this winter with meteorologists anticipating the best falls in many years to cover the mountains. But 28 years ago, the allure of crisp, white slopes ended in tragedy near Goulburn for six people aged in their 20s, including the 23-year-old pilot who'd been hired to...
Sudden surge in higher density housing sparks fresh council appraisal
A spike of high-density housing in new residential estates north of Goulburn is threatening to compromise Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s strategic planning. New housing beyond the Wollondilly River is progressing rapidly within the council's 2009 Local Environmental Plan guidelines. But the plan’s provisions for a second dwelling, more commonly known as a 'granny flat', are unexpectedly surging. Council’s director of environmental...
Small steps guide young men to make good choices
Over time, seemingly small gestures accumulate into life-changing leadership from people putting others ahead of themselves and encouraging individuals to follow their example. Paul Nicholl experienced this during his apprenticeship as a greenkeeper in the NSW Central West town of Condobolin, where Malcolm Nash was head greenkeeper at the local bowling club. https://www.facebook.com/riotactnews/videos/976048622812408 The Condobolin Bowling Club nurtured young staff...
Remembering the days when country newspapers told Goulburn’s story
Across Australia, country town newspapers are closing or remain under a cloud of uncertainty. The Goulburn Post has been suspended during COVID-19, leaving readers speculating about its long-term future. I was the editor from 1988, when some remarkable contributors turned the years that followed into a golden era for the paper and our town. The Post collaborated with the Rostrum Club,...
Brian Mills steels himself for a record-making effort
Brian Mills was born to bend steel. One of Australia’s oldest boilermakers still on the tools, Brian has bolted, belted, forged and welded steel across much of Goulburn’s industrial landscape for more than six decades. The 82-year-old has seen manufacturing rise and fall, from the cotton spinning and weaving machines in the Pacific Chenille Craft factory, to processing plants at...
Goulburn’s Jim Maple-Brown believed in ideas
Goulburn grazier, innovator and philanthropist Jim Maple-Brown AM has been remembered by his family for his tenacious belief in ideas. When he backed new research to develop the sale of fine wool by sample and description by forming his own company in the 1960s, Economic Wool Producers, the wool buying establishment rejected him. “Principally, he was courageous,” says his wife,...
Rivers bring new wave of activities in Goulburn
Except for a brief passing view from bridges, both the Wollondilly River and Mulwaree River in Goulburn were buried behind willows and weeds for many years. A visionary network of walkway recently began uncovering and accompanying these silver streams through the town. Since 2016, Goulburn Mulwaree Council has spent $5.7 million on 10km of walkways, drawing hundreds of people alongside...
How Gary Worboys keeps emergency focus on communities
Ferocious bushfires, floods and leading the NSW response to COVID-19 has kept Gary Worboys in the spotlight. Now all he wants is to come home to the lights of Goulburn from Governors Hill. Worboys is the NSW Police Deputy Commissioner, Regional NSW. Since Christmas, he has also held the role of NSW State Emergency Operations Controller, with barely a moment to...
Grand home at centre of 300-lot subdivision for Goulburn
Mary's Mount, a unique two-storey home built by former Goulburn mayor Tony Lamarra and his wife, Adriana and with links to many of the State's political leaders is on the market again after prolonged negotiations over plans to subdivide the surrounding 40 hectares. The six-bedroom home with grand twin staircases, three bathrooms and a billiards room is unlike any other...
Construction underway of $20 million Goulburn Performing Arts Centre on historic town hall site
Six years on from the first proposal to re-purpose the former Goulburn Town Hall, construction on the project is well underway. Despite protracted debate about the merit of the $20 million conversion of the historic Auburn Street site into the Goulburn Performing Arts Centre, excavation work by Zauner Construction is nearly complete, with a tower crane soon to be erected....
Remembering Shuttle’s general store, selling everything from a needle to an anchor
In 1970, the Goulburn Teachers' College opened, and the saleyards, department stores, high schools and colleges all thrived. Hume Highway traffic rumbled through town and corner shops flourished. Along Clinton Street, Collins', Randall's, Shuttle's, Small's, Delaney's and Hasler's, and Doherty's butcher shop all hummed. Shuttle's included a post office and Commonwealth Bank agency and opened seven days a week from...
“It all went crazy”: Goulburn truckie keeps his cool during COVID-19 pandemic
Goulburn truck driver Riley Topping has emerged from “wild, crazy” days of delivering groceries into panic-stricken Sydney with one goal – to be allowed more time for driving big rigs during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the public's recent mad scramble for toilet paper and groceries, the spotlight landed on supermarket staff and police who were trying to maintain order. But truck...
Resilient communities can survive COVID, says Goulburn City Lions president
Goulburn district ex-school teacher and charity worker Rosemary Chapman has a positive message in troubled times: this is when communities come together and that shared strength will see us through. The incoming president of the Lions Club of Goulburn City is currently hard at work on a project to collect unused tools and pass them on to Southern Highlands fire...
New pools and leisure facilities for Goulburn in $30 million upgrade
Preliminary works have begun on the $30 million aquatic centre redevelopment in Goulburn, the latest stage in the transformation of the historic city’s Victoria Park pool precinct. Replacing the existing 25-metre pool with an eight-lane pool, the project will also include two new indoor pools, replacement of all amenities, including changing rooms, plus a cafe and new gymnasium. Goulburn Mulwaree...