IAN ANDERSON was only two and his sister Christine, four, when they became the poster children for the first edition of the Jersey Journal in 1969. Fifty years later, the siblings reunited to recreate the photos as the journal celebrates its 50th anniversary.
In this fast-changing media landscape, one rural publication has defied the odds to mark a significant milestone.
The Jersey Journal celebrated its 50th anniversary in September having survived floods, droughts, recessions and even a name change for its parent body — from Australian Jersey Breeders Society to today’s Jersey Australia.
While many industry papers have folded over the years, the Jersey Journal has survived and become staple reading for generations of Jersey breeders.
It is printed and distributed bi-monthly to about 900 members and the online version is accessed internationally with Jersey enthusiasts from 36 countries downloading each issue around 1000 times.
The journal evolved from the Livestock Bulletin which went out of print in 1971.
At the time the Australian Jersey Breeders Society believed there was a need and demand for a specialist publication to focus on the breed.
It was the brainchild of state branch members Charlie Gay, of Yarram, and Reg Broad, of Bendigo, who went on to become life members of the society.
They were concerned that the Livestock Bulletin had limited news and information for Jersey breeders.
An editorial in the first edition said the journal was “dedicated to the interests of Jersey breeders everywhere and to the dairy industry in general”.
The first journal rolled off the printing press at Ruskin Press in North Melbourne on September 30, 1969. Graeme Warrener was the first editor.
The journal remains free for all Jersey Australia members and president Chris MacKenzie said it still has a vital role in keeping members informed, sharing success stories and promoting Australian Jerseys to the world.
While the journal has changed in style, distribution method and frequency, Mr MacKenzie said it’s still appreciated by members as an informative means of communication.
The emphasis in recent years has changed to feature more breeder stories to highlight their achievements and successful farming and breeding practices.
“All along it has been there for breeders to use as a means of communication and that hasn’t changed,” he said.
“Our members still look forward to it for information from the Jersey Australia board and management and for stories about other farmers,” he said.
The international exposure through regular downloads across many countries also strengthens the Australian Jersey brand.
“It’s a great way to promote Australian Jerseys into the world,” Mr MacKenzie said.
Former Australian Jersey Breeders Society president Lionel Bonde was one of the founders of the journal and remains a dedicated reader who said, “I wouldn’t be without it”.
Mr Bonde said the publication was innovative at the time with its commitment to one breed and focus on producing good quality photographs and stories.
Tasmanian Jersey breeders Geoff and Ann Heazlewood had a collection of all Jersey Journals until nature intervened three years ago and, the nearby Mersey River ruined that.
“We had a collection of journals filed from the first edition until three years ago when the river broke its banks and we had a flood through our house,” Mr Heazlewood said.
“Unfortunately, they were waterlogged and ruined, and we had to throw them out.”
“For us it was the original means of communication,” he said.
“It was something we very much looked forward to, and still do.”