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Introduction: Ron Boland Newspaper Reading Area


The Ron Boland Newspaper Reading Area at the State Library of South Australia
Ron Boland

The Ron Boland Newspaper Reading Area at the State Library of South Australia recognises the achievements of one of Australia's greatest newspaper figures, former managing director of Adelaide's The News, Ron Boland. The exhibition in this area aims to make the viewer aware of the vital role that Ron played in bringing news stories to the people, especially in South Australia, where he worked on The News and Sunday Mail.

The late Ron Boland had a remarkable influential and lengthy career of almost 51 years at News Ltd as a dedicated and distinguished newspaperman, working as a journalist, sports writer, editor and managing director. Both Ron and his father Ted, who was sports reporter for The Register, were described as having newspaper ink in their blood.

Ron Boland achieved top newspaper circulation figures with his enthusiasm for obtaining a ‘scoop’ on late-breaking news, and emphasis on human interest stories and entertainment. He was renowned for getting a good story and getting it first, and played a critical role in the formation and success of global expansion of News Ltd in the 1960s and 1970s.

On retirement in 1977, Ron Boland remembered some of the outstanding stories of his career as the 1954 earthquake in Adelaide, the assassination of President Kennedy, man landing on the moon, and the devastation of Darwin by Cyclone Tracy. With humour, he recalled the victorious campaign for topless bathing for men as one of his proudest journalistic feats: in the summer of 1937–38, Ron wrote persuasive articles promoting the wearing of swimming trunks by male swimmers, instead of the almost neck to knee bathing costumes stipulated by council bylaws.

After formal retirement, Ron Boland continued to write occasional articles for the Sunday Mail. These stories indicate some of his wide-ranging interests—inquiry into local issues, commitment to Rotary and love of horseracing. He retained close contact with the Sunday Mail and The Advertiser, and often phoned with story ideas or news tips.

In 1980, Mr Boland was awarded an Order of the British Empire for services to journalism in the New Year’s Honours list.

In the Ron Boland Newspaper Reading Area, visitors may peruse newspapers from around the world. News Corp donated $400,000 to the State Library Foundation's WOW! Campaign to help establish this Reading Area. This gift supplemented a $41 million State Government allocation to redevelop the State Library of South Australia.

Exhibitions in this area comprise two sections. A life in print—Ronald Raymond Boland OBE celebrates Ron Boland’s long-standing career as a newspaperman. The Boland family have loaned memorabilia, and they and Ron’s former colleagues provided information for this section. The news in print—The making of a newspaper highlights newspaper production. Lantern slides of newspaper production at around 1900 contrast with images of production over one hundred years later, in 2003. Advertiser Newspapers Limited donated an Interytpe typesetting machine for display in this section, which also features a timeline of world and local events that marked history over Ron’s lifetime.

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Home page image:

Lionel Coventry, a colleague from Ron Boland’s early days at The News, drew this caricature of his lifelong friend at the time of his retirement in December 1977.

Image reproduced with permission from Christopher Coventry. It may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Christopher Coventry and the State Library of South Australia. Further information may be found at Permission to publish.

Link to sa.gov.au - South Australian Government

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