Former Kalamunda Reporter editor Ken Utting takes a look back at how the paper began in 1962

The first ever Kalamunda Reporter.
The first ever Kalamunda Reporter.

The year was 1962. There were no mobile phones and no computers. Transistor radios were just arriving on the scene and pocket calculators were unheard of.

Television sets were a luxury and there was only black and white transmission. Many homes were yet to have a telephone and most subscribers in the region had three-digit telephone numbers.

The internet was not even a figment of people’s imagination. Printing presses that could print newspapers were few and far between.

A new generation of young people were becoming more aware of the world around them, rock ’n’ roll was taking the world by storm and young people identified with the protest songs and a break-down of old traditions of a conservative post-World War II society.

No story about the history of The Kalamunda Reporter should be taken out of this context and the role the Lesmurdie Youth Club played in its establishment.

The club, under the guidance of local police officer Jim Porteous, had a massive impact on the lives of young people. It was responsible for the development of men’s rules basketball (in those days netball was known as basketball and played only by women). Basketball expanded from four teams in 1963 to nearly 100 teams in 1970 including women and juniors.

The club also helped reinstate senior football in Kalamunda and formation of the Kalamunda Districts Football Club, which is still operating successfully today.

I was keen to start a local newspaper following the demise of the Kalamunda and Districts Weekly newspaper several years earlier and was encouraged by Jim Porteous and several of my youth club friends.

We started planning in early 1962 and Jim Porteous offered us a room at his house and we borrowed an old typewriter and duplicator from the Roads Board office.

My team included Porteous, Neville Moran, Rod Bullock, Peter Turner, Des Ferris and Anne Ley as our typist. We were later joined by John Doyle, who used his artistic skills to hand-draw our advertisements and cartoons.

With the shoddy typewriter, which was missing several keys, and stencils that lost letters because of the heavy typing, and a duplicator that kept over-|inking and making a terrible mess, we spent many late nights producing our first issue.

After an all-night effort I delivered the first issue on my scooter, with Rod Bullock sitting on the pillion seat with a large box of rolled-up newspapers.

After a few months at the Porteous home it was evident we needed a more suitable location and the local hardware store on Haynes Street came to our assistance.

By this time we had a much better typewriter, a more modern Gestetner duplicator and we were able to print photographs with electronic stencils. We took our photos with a Brownie Box camera and took the prints to Perth, where they were burnt into the electronic stencils. The paper was produced at the Haynes Street location during week nights and became a favourite meeting place for youth club members.

Our duplicator was hand-operated. It took hours to print the paper, running out reams of foolscap paper.

I had left UWA in 1963 and with the agreement of the club decided to take on the paper as my own business, delivering 1500 copies each week. As The Kalamunda Reporter transitioned from a youth club newsletter to a genuine community newspaper, the hills and foothills transitioned from a collection of sleepy villages to a modern city. In the mid ’60s the Darling Range Roads Board became Shire of Kalamunda.

Its role changed dramatically from the provision of roads, footpaths and drainage to the provision of planning services for rapidly expanding urban areas, the retention and preservation of the area’s many natural resources and the development of sporting, recreation, health and cultural facilities as the community’s needs and aspirations changed.

The Kalamunda Reporter grew with the community, providing readers with coverage of local events such as the opening of the Kalamunda Fire Station, the Kalamunda Hospital and the aged care facilities, the expansion and relocation of the Kalamunda Library, the construction of the new Kalamunda Shire Administration Centre, the development of shopping centres and recreation facilities.

The Kalamunda Reporter was an integral part of more than 50 tumultuous years in the development of one of the most progressive local government areas in WA.