The ‘Devonport Gazette and Greater North Shore Advocate, Who’s Who Directory, Ratepayer’s Chronicle’

The first issue of this weekly suburban newspaper came out on Thursday 3rd November 1921. 2,500 copies were delivered free of charge to “each house in the Borough of Devonport” and also made available to patrons of the Victoria Picture Theatre in Devonport. It was published and printed by James William Henry Martin and family, who managed the Devonport Printing Works at 56 Victoria Road, Devonport.

On the front page, the middle two columns carried movie advertisements and stills for screenings at the Victoria Theatre, while other parts of the newspaper also included movie news. The ‘Who’s Who’ columns were for advertising local businesses and trades, while the editorial on page two addressed local issues. Pages two and three also included reports from Devonport Borough Council and other local public meetings. Later this was extended to cover reports of the Takapuna Borough Council and other Takapuna area public meetings.

The gossip column was called ‘What we hear on the 8.35 and 5.10p, ferry steamers’ and ‘Picture Pars’ covered small snippets of news. There was also a correspondence column, some profiles or obituaries of locals, a cartoon and often stories and poetry.

From 1924, this was renamed the ‘North Shore Gazette: the official Waitemata paper’ and extended its circulation into Belmont, Bayswater, Takapuna, Milford, Glenfield, Northcote, Birkenhead, Birkdale and Chelsea. It continued to be published until 30 June 1938, and was then followed by the ‘North Shore Chronicle’ to February 1940.

Auckland Libraries has copies, with gaps, for the period to 1934, and currently the North Shore Historical Society is funding the restoration of those early newspapers. So far they have funded to the end of 1923. The National Library in Wellington has copies from 1936 onwards.

Author: David Verran, Central Auckland Research Centre