News

Century old newsagency to shut

Pitman’s Newsagency, Woonona C1918. The shop was built by Henry Pitman who is shown at the left with his wife Rachel and son William Austin.

Pitman’s Newsagency, Woonona C1918. The shop was built by Henry Pitman who is shown at the left with his wife Rachel and son William Austin.

By MICK ROBERTS

AFTER 104 years trading from the north east corner of Russell Street and the Princes Highway, Woonona Newsagency will close for business on November 29 2015.

Although in an updated building, newspapers have been sold from the corner location ever since William Austin Pitman.

opened his newsagency in 1911 after converting the old Woonona Workmen’s Club, which had closed for business a few years earlier.

Graham Sturgiss behind the counter of his Woonona Newsagency in the 1990s.

Graham Sturgiss behind the counter of his Woonona Newsagency in the 1990s.

The South Coast Times reported on Friday September 8 1911:

“The building trade is very brisk. Extensive alterations are in progress at the old Workmen’s Club premises, which are being altered to suit the newsagency business, to be carried on there by Mr. W. Pitman.”
The Sturgiss family have operated the newsgaency for 49 years.

Graham and Christine Sturgiss announced today – ironically on social media – that the business will close at the end of next month as a consequence of changing habits in news and information consumption.

“It has been an extremely hard decision to make, especially with our family connection to the business over the last 49 years,” Graham wrote.

“Unfortunately it is a reflection of changing retail environment and the changing way consumers gather their news and information.

“The Newsagency has been a huge part of my life and the way that I have engaged with a wide cross section of the local community. I have been privileged to have shared and been part of their day to day lives.

“Over the years we have had many wonderful staff members who helped make the friendly and relaxed atmosphere in store……..thank you”.

The closing of the Woonona newsagency follows the closure of the Bulli Newsagency and Post Office in January 2012.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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