Daily Mercury historic archives to live on

Published: 26 Jun 2020

It's a collection that spans more than 70 metres across a room and more than 120 years in time.

As the last Daily Mercury hits newsstands today and the Gordon Street office closes, the paper’s iconic archives have found a fitting home.

The Mackay Regional Council Libraries’ Heritage Collection team have taken delivery of 171 boxes, 40 binders, 15 framed items and one Cross of Lorraine pin given to World War II era Daily Mercury editor Harry Moore by French president Charles de Gaulle.

The boxes hold all the ingredients – news and editorial files, photos, negatives, supplements, correspondence and features – that have gone into Daily Mercury papers in our region since about 1900.

The pin was a gift from the French after Moore wrote a rousing editorial after the battle of Dunkirk.

Daily Mercury editor Rae Wilson said she was pleased the Daily Mercury archives would continue to be available to both journalists and members of the public.

“It’s sad to see more than 100 years of Mercury heritage leave the building, but it’s good to know it’s going to good hands,” she said.

“This newspaper has recorded all of Mackay’s ups and downs as well as their hatches, matches and dispatches – it’s important those memories remain with the community.”

Hatches, matches and dispatches is newsroom jargon for the sections of newspapers that discuss births, weddings and deaths.

Mayor Greg Williamson said council was happy to be able to offer a lifeline to the historic collection that would see it remain in the public realm.

“Losing our local paper is a massive blow for the community, but to lose the history that it has documented over all those years would be a tragedy,” Cr Williamson said.

“The Heritage Collection team has a big job ahead of them to go though and catalogue such an extensive archive, but the public can be assured that when all the work is complete, their print memories will be preserved,” he said.