Anthony Watts is home

He’s family: Journalist Anthony Watts is back at the Camden Haven Courier.
He’s family: Journalist Anthony Watts is back at the Camden Haven Courier.

Hey there,

I just felt the need, and with the approval of the managing-editor Kate Dwyer, to say hi and it’s great to be back in the best place on earth.

Circumstances have paved the way for me to return and I could not be happier. They say sometimes life comes full circle, and this is certainly evident for me.

Walking past Laurieton pub when I was 17, Laurie Sullivan stuck his head out the door and asked if I wanted a job. I’m not sure if my dad, Press, who was working there are the time, had a word in his ear, but the adage of “who you know” may have worked way back then as well.

I said “yeah ? but I’m heading to America to play tennis for six weeks, so I’ll have to start work after that”.

Thanks to Laurie and wife Athlea, I became a journalist, albeit without the degree from university.

Coincidentally, my mother Ina worked as a typist for The Courier in the late sixties and seventies when the office was located, firstly in an old building opposite Coles, then in one of the spaces in the Jeanaree Arcade. 

She informed me the other night that I had to be “restrained” when she took me to work because the typewriters were too enticing.

The Courier has been in many locations during its history:

- The arcade opposite the ANZ Bank with the laundromat and health food shop at the front. This is where my sister, who worked for Vaughan’s Pharmacy, came to tell me that our father had died from a heart attack. * There is a further comment about this moment I’ll touch on.

- Back in its original, but then revamped space opposite Coles - not Coles back then.

- And its current location in Bold Street.

I’m pretty sure there was one other, but age-induced memory loss has prevented recollection.

I worked in all of them.

* Just on the abovementioned “comment”. I had a few days off work, but when I returned I was told that a “space” had been reserved for my father’s obituary and I had to write it. At the time I was devastated, but after writing it and seeing it in print, it actually gave me closure, so thanks Laurie for the task.

I was moulded into a journalist with an interest in all things community. 

After the Sullivans moved on, Tex and Dorothy Emery took over the reins and with their experience they taught me that judgment had no place in their newspaper and that positive stories were just as, if not more important than everything else.

After a few years I moved to the “big smoke” of Port Macquarie, but I still had a very close relationship with the Courier. 

Ian and Karen Hodgkinson were at the helm and were instrumental in developing the newspaper into the community publication it is today. 

I was fortunate enough to do relief work at the Courier when needed and was very excited every time the opportunity arose. I guess that’s just a “home” thing

Fourteen years ago I moved to Newcastle.

But now, I’m back, relishing in rekindling past friendships and already educating some people on the history of my family in Kendall, Kew, Herons Creek and Laurieton. 

This is my community and I’m proud to be able to come back and take a seat at the first place I ever worked.

So give me a call, an email, an “oi” if you’ve got something you want to say or see and I’ll give it my best shot to get it out there.

For the record, I was at the Port Macquarie News when the Courier’s managing-editor Kate Dwyer (not Dwyer back then) was still at school and she did work experience as a journalist. She had the goods back then and she has certainly shown them since.

P.S. My niece Shelley Watts is making history at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games as a female boxer. Her first fight is on July 29. Dedication and drive mean more to me than anything, so the result makes no difference.