Yesterday’s news

The closure of several regional newspapers in print, including the Coffs Coast Advocate, may have seemed the end of a way of life available to all Australians since 1803. [1]

However libraries have always been quietly working in the background to ensure that the personal version of our life stories remain public. Libraries took in, kept, and cared for copies of newspapers from their earliest days. From the 1960s onwards libraries also funded the production of space-saving microfilm copies, used to preserve that content for as long as possible.

Michael Pascoe, of W.F. Pascoe Pty Ltd, played a significant role in the  conversion, making sure that the Coffs Coast Advocate was secured right up until its last day in print – 26 June 2020. One day it too will be available for reading in Trove, Australia’s digital repository for our history. [2] But what do we do until then?

Securing the issues of the Coffs Coast Advocate

Newspapers of our area which can be browsed online

Coverage of Coffs’ stories prior to 1907 when the Advocate started to roll off the presses was considered important enough to include in a range of titles: several Clarence River papers [3], The North Coast Times – in the only year which has survived – and the Raleigh Sun 1898 – 1918. The Don Dorrigo Gazette and Guy Fawkes Advertiser, available in Trove from  1910 to 1954 sometimes also fills gaps.

Coffs Harbour was fiendish for alternate views so other papers such as the Bananacoast Opinion, bookended by the Opinion and the Advocate Opinion before 1973 and after 1978, were saved by the Coffs Harbour Regional Museum for future searching. It too is available in Trove. [4]

A more recent journalistic endeavour seeking diverse opinions was Coffs Coast Outlook.


Yes, Sawtell did have its own title for a while, known as the Sawtell Guardian. Recently the Council arranged for its digitisation – a perfect snapshot of life between 1971 and 1976.


The Coffs Harbour City Library holds a full run of the Woolgoolga Advertiser up to 2017 on microfilm,  and it’s easy to book a reader. Coffs Collections is providing access to its newest journal, the Woopi News. A quick search there will reveal all issues.

Need a shortcut to all of these newspapers? Just go to the Resources link in Coffs Collections and click from there.

Not all newspapers are available online, and that won’t change for several decades, because of the copyright provisions which came into effect in 2007.

Later date ranges are available to view on microfilm at the Coffs Harbour City Library, and there is a Newspaper Index available as a starting point.


  1. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 1803 – 1842;
  2. Trove is at
  3. The Clarence River Advocate, 1898 – 1949,; The Clarence Richmond and Examiner,, 1859; The Clarence and Richmond Examiner,, 1889 – 1915; and The Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, 1859 – 1889,
  4. The Bananacoast Opinion, 19 June 1973 – 25 October 1978