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

Joe and Sue O’Neil’s Goulburn club fossicks for an elusive home base
One blazing hot day, Goulburn couple Joe and Sue O’Neil visited the opal fields of Lightning Ridge in north-west NSW for an introduction to fossicking. “The white dirt off the opals burned worse than the sun, but it was worth it,” Sue said. They fossicked through a mullock heap and in a nearby old school yard, collecting beautiful little rocks....
Wise words on education from a ‘military-era’ teacher
After teaching at primary schools all her working life, Wendy Wise steps confidently into a minefield of opinions on how best to educate young children. Her career began in the 1960s, in what educators describe as the ‘military era’.  “As teachers came into the classroom, all the children stood up. When a visitor entered a room, the children all stood...
Yellow bike campaigners paint bright future for Goulburn-Crookwell rail trail
Bolted on the back of a ute, resting against letterboxes, standing in office windows or strapped to trees, yellow bikes are spreading across Goulburn and Crookwell. Neil Penning’s first yellow bike – a trick bike his mate John Guthrie made 30 years ago from bits and pieces – went on display at the front of his home in November. The...
Ackery targets Taylor’s hefty Hume margin with a little help from her friends
Independent candidate Penny Ackery says she will make Hume marginal after the upcoming federal election at the very least. The former school teacher says a groundswell of opposition to the Minister for Energy and Emissions Angus Taylor will be enough to dislodge him from Hume. But she's realistic about the difficulty of shifting the entrenched Liberal’s 13 per cent margin....
Hospital ’emergency’ as Goulburn coffee suddenly runs out
Twice a day a mobile coffee van arrives under the emergency entrance of Goulburn Base Hospital. The van’s regular customers say parking under the sign is appropriate. It's simply responding to an "emergency" that arose suddenly when redevelopment work blocked access to the kiosk inside the hospital’s older section, forcing its closure.  On 11 February, 2022 the kiosk operator of...
The Show has gone on, despite the sodden fields of the south
Ken Hewitt knows where giant pumpkins, the finest wool and cereal grains grow in southern NSW. He has helped collect and display seeds, grasses, peas, grapes, black wool, brown eggs and lots more for the Sydney Royal Easter Show for 34 years. Ken looks after the Southern District Exhibit and his search for food and fibre has never been as...
Crafting ghastly old railway barracks into gallery showpiece 
Arts & Culture
The dented kitchen sink looked like blokes in hobnailed-boots had danced on it. Beyond the termite-eaten floors and graffiti-splattered walls, vandals had smashed windows and doors. Yet a group of Goulburn artists were overjoyed these bashed-up, 1891 rest rooms, were now their responsibility to repair and occupy. Built for tired train drivers to sleep in at the end of their...
Beautiful flowers returning to revive Belmore Park glasshouse
Vivid flower displays will again fill Belmore Park's glasshouse in Goulburn, reviving a period when the floral presentations were rated among the best in public glasshouses in NSW. Horticultural students from Goulburn TAFE will present the upcoming displays. Since 1959, the local community, parks and garden staff have worked collaboratively to make the glasshouse a sought-after tourist attraction for highway travellers....
Daring robbers made ultimate ‘banger’ when they hit their high steaks target
Years ago, cunning thieves followed the show circuit in southern NSW, blowing open safes and strongrooms along the way. They blew up a safe at Cooma and, in the dead of night, blew open a safe door inside a Goulburn butchery. The annual shows helped the thieves' anonymity because locals took no notice of strangers like them in town. On...
Goulburn takes centre stage with new performing arts centre
Arts & Culture
The new $19 million Goulburn Performing Arts Centre, re-purposed from the former town hall, opened on Friday night (25 March) and didn't miss a beat. The rates office, upstairs engineering department and round tables for council meetings have been swept aside for dressing rooms, opera pit, tiered seating for 400 people and, of course, a stage. Leading the opening night's...
Defending Goulburn’s rich artistic history against the critics
Much of Jennifer Lamb's life centres on the arts in Goulburn - and the day is yet to dawn when critics deter her. Researching for her presentation Goulburn’s Rich Artistic History to coincide with this month's opening of the Goulburn Performing Arts Centre, Jennifer uncovered years of scathing criticism of the arts, artists and the historic city itself. Goulburn Regional...
Dramatic baby-boomer Waltz swings by Braidwood
Arts & Culture
A journalist from the 1960s and '70s, Helen's death came in 2016. In the year leading up to her passing, she would often sit on a bench in Bondi overlooking the sea and share her thoughts on life and death with her son-in-law, David Cole, a teacher and scriptwriter from Goulburn. He wasn't thinking about writing a play at the...
Legacy of well-travelled sketch artist may give Goulburn a lift
A sketch artist with an architect’s eye, David Penalver loved drawing historic buildings, old bridges, buses, trains, railway lines, canals and boats. His gift for sketching, matched by his travelling bent, produced an extraordinary body of work. The best of these sketches will be auctioned after an exhibition, entitled The Travelling Artist David Penalver 1939-2020, next month to raise money for...
Take your seats and enjoy Goulburn resident’s decade of Qantas memories
Phil Joyce describes his time with Qantas from 1981 to 1991 as brilliant and fortuitous. It marked the last decade before the Australian carrier changed from a government-owned identity to a privatised operation. Now retired in Goulburn, Phil reflects on his unforgettable experiences travelling the kangaroo route to London, the Pacific islands, Europe and the United States. Starting as a...
Goulburn renovators reveal secrets to restore homes the old-fashioned way
Goulburn’s extensive intact heritage is winning more appreciation among newcomers to the city. But many residents remain wary of the time and expense involved in renovating older homes. Sue Theron understands their hesitancy. The architect with a construction background, who arrived in Goulburn four years ago, is restoring a 1930s Californian bungalow. “I guess the whole philosophical gist of restoring an...
Old Cathedral’s treasures slowly coming to light in Goulburn
Professional lighting illuminates the full splendour of Saints (Ss) Peter and Paul’s Old Cathedral in Goulburn as part of a multi-million-dollar restoration campaign video. The dramatic vision and music capture a sense of the cathedral’s glory and a glimpse of what’s to come, says chair of the restoration committee, Dr Ursula Stephens. But even the professionally-made video can’t reveal the...