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

Andrew Oberg’s creed: Revere every day on the river
Health & Wellbeing
Dynamic and mysterious, the Shoalhaven River meanders in chocolate froth after rain. Then the water settles into a silver ribbon that is so clear the swaying current reveals fish darting off into its depths. Rolling hills on either side give way to thick scrub, stone-strewn foreshores and sandstone gorges. The water’s depth increases as the drama heightens. Sheer cliffs on...
Street-by-street fight for heritage leads to defeat
Why are Goulburn people often defeated on planning issues as the city develops? Why are weatherboard cottages bowled over to clear the way for harsh concrete service stations? And why are rambling old homes that have stood for a century likely to be crushed for modern mansion monstrosities? The answer: because we lazily leave the heavy lifting to a few...
Fix the damage, honour Goulburn’s history: NSW directive to Kenmore owner
The owner of the former Kenmore psychiatric hospital will be issued with a maintenance plan to address ongoing neglect and vandalism of the extensive buildings on Goulburn’s northern outskirts. Heritage NSW is preparing the maintenance plan – the most cost-effective way to maintain the value of an asset – following an inspection of Kenmore in October 2020. The inspection follows Member for...
New home plans rock serene Hurst Street as neighbours prepare for battle
The proposed demolition of the first home built in Hurst Street, Goulburn, has outraged neighbours and sparked a heated response. Residents are writing objections, organising petitions and delegations to Goulburn Mulwaree Council. They are researching the home at 22 Hurst Street and local government and heritage guidelines. A fierce battle is shaping up. Residents in Hurst Street, Bradley Street and...
Council’s $66 million water bill for new poultry processing plant angers developer
Goulburn Mulwaree Council wants a developer to pay $66 million in fees for establishing a poultry processing factory in Goulburn. Former Sydney builder Eddie Wehbe is proposing the $84 million project which will require a vast amount of water to operate. Poultry farms are increasingly being forced out of the Sydney Basin and relocating to regional areas, and Mr Wehbe’s...
Goulburn engineer’s journey for survival goes on
Fit, playing alongside his favourite music-loving friends and in the closing chapter of his engineering career, Ian Aldridge was enjoying life in Goulburn. Then niggling discomfort in his back after exercising at the gym became more annoying. Later, while he stood in queues overseas on holidays, it became worse. On his return home, he went to a doctor. Blood tests...
How generations of Parletts beat the bypass
Before the Hume Highway bypassed Goulburn in 1992, 23,000 cars travelled through the city each day. After the bypass opened, hospitality and service businesses closed as predicted. Against the odds, one service station in town increased its turnover. Anyone who needed jumper leads, a new fan belt or tyres in that era would go to Parlett's. Chris Parlett recalls the...
Danny’s 20 years of dining supremacy
In the late 1980s when restaurants flourished in Goulburn, one in particular made such a splash it’s still talked about today. The city’s crisp autumn air crackled with excitement when Danny’s Brasserie opened. George Stamatellis, his three sons, Chris, Paul and Phillip, and their uncle, Dennis, were betting everything on their new venture opposite the Goulburn Town Hall. The Paragon...
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...