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 does Australia give migrants such a hard time?
Employers in Goulburn’s meat processing, hospitality, aged care, supermarkets and health sectors recruit from a stream of migrants desperate for work, permanent residency and citizenship. But strict travel restrictions abroad and at home to contain the spread of COVID-19 have stopped migrants arriving or leaving the country. Southern Meats human resources manager Kenny Conroy says the disruptions mean a fight...
Bill’s personality nailed hardware market
The Saturday morning sausage sizzle has fizzled in locked-down Melbourne. Shopping at a hardware store wearing a mask is sterile and coldly efficient. Under the click-and-collect model, you drive into a car park and goods bought online are put into your boot. My mind races back to Goulburn, to the dusty timber yards and paint shops that popped up like...
Anger rises over Kenmore neglect, vandalism
Four years ago, the new owner of Kenmore Hospital in Goulburn, Australia China International, pledged to revive the place, involve the community and be transparent. Member for Hume Angus Taylor stood alongside company representatives for a photograph in the Goulburn Post newspaper in 2016 and said: “Everyone here would love to see Kenmore developed and it is my job to see...
Goulburn must keep control of its growth
Goulburn is developing rapidly in almost every direction on the city’s edges. New subdivisions and proposed industries such as chicken processing and aged care are raising multiple planning issues regarding transport, water, amenity and heritage. Planning guidelines that reflect the aspirations of Goulburnians are more crucial than ever. Regardless of how eloquently expressed pledges are to grow sustainably, what actually...
Christine Forsyth knows how to develop a clever dog’s mind
School is back for humanity’s undisputed best friends. Dog obedience training has resumed in Goulburn following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and recent flooding. Up to 20 or more owners, aged from 13 to 60, and their assortment of dogs are continuing to develop their happy relationships. Their instructor is articulate retired school teacher Christine Forsyth, who brings a wealth...
Goulburn bagpipes carry over water and time
Songs of Ireland and Scotland grow more poignant over time and tides. They seep into the frost-covered hills and fog-hidden valleys between Goulburn, Taralga and Oberon. Their words and melodies help explain the consistency of a Goulburn band that, since 1957, has cheered, consoled and moved communities from the NSW South Coast to the mountains. A year after forming the...
Days are numbered for Goulburn’s light on the hill
Time is catching up with the Rocky Hill War Memorial’s searchlight in Goulburn. As it continues to show its age, a handful of skilled people are nursing the infrastructure along and searching the world for a suitable replacement – a difficult task given land-based searchlights have long been retired. Installed in 1936 with a powerful radius of 129km to guide night-flying...
It’s five o’clock on a Friday and the regular crowd shuffles in
Piano man Mike Baker knows what his audience wants. He helped build the Hume Conservatorium and Goulburn Club into wellsprings of music. When streaming services such as Netflix depleted live musicians’ audiences, and then COVID-19 social distancing struck another more recent blow, Mike replied with an elegant response. He streamed his own show into the homes of his audience. About...
Weighing the risks of a potential Goulburn poultry farm
About seven years ago, wild ducks landed on a pond at a property near Young, 139km from Goulburn. The highly infectious H7 avian influenza (bird flu) they were carrying spread swiftly through the property’s free-range chicken farm into the caged sections which were all rated world-class for biosecurity. All 400,000 layer hens and three million eggs were destroyed. The warning...
A letter to Goulburn from Melbourne, for Eternity
We are under the same sun, but in different worlds. I’m in Melbourne, where the sun will set at around 5:14 pm this afternoon, about three minutes later than in Goulburn. Why do I care? Because I can’t come home to Goulburn. As some of you know, my wife Franki and I left our hometown in February 2018. We came...
Goulburn planners head west for future housing
A swathe of land in West Goulburn will become a future residential frontier for the historic city. For years, new residential subdivisions in Goulburn have been north beyond Wollondilly River. However, in decades to come, development will head west to an area that has been a no-go zone for the city’s town planners because of outdated data. The new focus...
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...