The Morning Bulletin

The Morning Bulletin is an online newspaper servicing the city of Rockhampton and the surrounding areas of Central Queensland, Australia.[1]

Owner(s)News Corp Australia
EditorMelanie Plane
Founded9 July 1861
HeadquartersRockhampton, Australia
220 Bolsover Street
Rockhampton City QLD 4700
Circulation14,700 Monday–Friday
50,000 Saturday

From 1861 to 2020, The Morning Bulletin was published as a print edition, before then becoming an exclusively online newspaper.

The final print edition was published on 27 June 2020.[2]


The first issue of The Bulletin was launched on 9 July 1861. It is the second oldest business in Rockhampton, the oldest being the Criterion Hotel which was established in October 1860.

The founder and original owner, William Hitchcock Buzacott (1831–1880, brother of Charles Hardie Buzacott), brought the press and equipment from Sydney in 1861 where he operated a small weekly paper. At the time the paper was called the Rockhampton Bulletin and was eagerly read by the town's 698 residents.

The newspaper was published as The Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser from July 1861 to 14 January 1871. Then as The Rockhampton Bulletin from 1871 to 1878. From 1878 onwards the newspaper was published as The Morning Bulletin.

The Bulletin's original home was in Quay Street near the old Customs House, in a low wooden building. On 14 August 1862, this was burnt down and the presses destroyed. Buzacott quickly obtained new equipment from Sydney and the newspaper was re-established in a two-storey masonry building in Denham Street. By 1926, the Denham Street building was too small and the newspaper returned to Quay Street in their new (and now heritage-listed) Bulletin Building.[3]

In 2007, the printing equipment that had been part of the newspaper's production facilities at the Bulletin Building were relocated to new printing facilities in Hempenstall Street in the Rockhampton suburb of Kawana, a more industrial part of the city.[4]

After almost 88 years of newspaper staff working from the Bulletin Building, The Morning Bulletin ceased operating from the iconic three-storey building on 21 March 2014.

The newspaper temporarily relocated to an office at 35 Fitzroy Street opposite the City Centre Plaza shopping centre.[5]

Despite The Morning Bulletin's editor Frazer Pearce favourably describing the building at 35 Fitzroy Street as "decades ahead" for the functionality of an evolving business,[4] the newspaper only remained at the address for approximately six months.

After briefly working from 35 Fitzroy Street, The Morning Bulletin relocated again in late 2014 to their current location at 220 Bolsover Street, where the newspaper is currently produced from a small ground-level office in a building shared with the ANZ Bank, Bank of Queensland and Ray White Real Estate.

In August 2015, it was announced former Rockhampton resident Bevan Slattery had purchased the old Bulletin Building. At the time of purchase, Slattery said he didn't have any firm plans for the old newspaper building, but hoped to eventually create a space to expand his business while helping other start-up businesses.[6]

In May 2020, it was announced The Morning Bulletin would be one of many regional newspapers owned by News Corp to cease publishing a print edition, moving to a digital-only edition, available to readers who paid for an online subscription.[7]

However, prior to the final edition of The Morning Bulletin being printed, it was announced The Courier-Mail would commence a "regionalised" print edition which would feature selected stories from Central Queensland in compensation for the local print edition finishing.[8]

The final edition of The Morning Bulletin was published on 27 June 2020 after which the Rockhampton Print Centre was closed down.[9]

The current editor of The Morning Bulletin is Melanie Plane.[10]


Copies of the old newspapers up until the end of 1954 have been digitised as part of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program of the National Library of Australia.[11][12]


"30,000 pigs" controversy

In 2011, The Morning Bulletin received criticism for not verifying an unusually high number when reporting on pigs being swept away in floodwaters from a farm near Baralaba, Queensland. The newspaper reported that a farmer claimed he had lost 30,000 pigs which had been swept down the Dawson River and into the Fitzroy River, which flows through Rockhampton.

The Morning Bulletin issued a retraction the following day, explaining that the reporter had misheard the farmer who had actually said he lost thirty sows and pigs, rather than 30,000 pigs.[13][14]

The error and subsequent apology garnered widespread attention and was featured on the ABC's Media Watch program[15] and was parodied on the ABC's comedy series Lowdown when Adam Zwar's character made the same mistake.[16] Australian country performer Keith Jamieson also released a comedy recording centred around the newspaper's error, entitled "Thirty Sows & Pigs". The recording won "Best Comedy Release" at the 2016 Bungendore Country Music Muster & Awards in Bungendore, New South Wales.[17]

The incident caught attention abroad. On 20 November 2015, the BBC comedy panel game show QI (Series M, Episode 5 - Maths) feature a segment on this.[18] In 2011, a staffer at University of Pennsylvania commented that 30,000 pigs would be "biblical".[19]

Clown controversy

On 27 October 2016, The Morning Bulletin made national news headlines when it depicted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a clown, with an accompanying headline which read: "Stop Clowning Around Malcolm: It's time you got serious about giving CQ a Fair Go". A large illustration of Turnbull in a clown's costume was published on the front page of the newspaper's print edition, alongside an open letter from "The Morning Bulletin (on behalf of the people of Central Queensland)". The cartoon was also included in the online version of the letter.[20]

The cartoon prompted Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow to publicly apologise to Turnbull during his scheduled visit to the city.[21] In an interview on local radio station 4RO, Strelow told Turnbull that the illustration on the front page of the newspaper did not represent the general community and that Central Queenslanders were delighted to have him visit the region. Turnbull thanked Strelow for the apology but insisted it was not required.[22]

The clown illustration in The Morning Bulletin came just days after the newspaper's former cartoonist Rod Emmerson[23] had made international news headlines with his depiction of Michael Cheika as a clown in The New Zealand Herald. Emmerson's illustration provoked a strong defensive reaction from Cheika.[24]


  1. "News Corp announces end of more than 100 Australian print newspapers in huge shift to digital". the Guardian. 27 May 2020.
  2. Hendry, Megan; Semmler, Erin (27 June 2020) News Corp papers complete final print runs, leaving older Australians lonely and disconnected, ABC News. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  3. "Bulletin Building (entry 601582)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  4. Farewell to old Quay St and the lovely view of Fitzroy River Archived 29 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Frazer Pearce, The Morning Bulletin, 22 March 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2016
  5. The Bulletin is moving to a new home on the weekend Archived 29 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Frazer Pearce, The Morning Bulletin, 17 March 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2016
  6. Bully building has IT factor Archived 29 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Michelle Gately, The Morning Bulletin, 22 August 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2016
  7. Hendry, Megan; Stunzner, Inga (29 May 2020) News Corp stops the presses on central Queensland newspapers as mastheads move online, ABC News. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  8. Pearce, Frazer (16 June 2020) Regional print product to feature CQ's best stories, The Morning Bulletin. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  9. McKay, Pam (23 June 2020) Mixed emotions: father, son printers prepare for last shifts, The Morning Bulletin. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  10. Plane, Melanie (11 July 2020) Meet your new editor of The Morning Bulletin, The Morning Bulletin. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  11. "Newspaper and magazine titles". Trove. Archived from the original on 29 February 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  12. "Newspaper Digitisation Program". Trove. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  13. 30,000 Pigs Didn't Float Down River According To Hilarious Newspaper Correction Archived 11 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Katla McGlynn, HuffPost, 10 February 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  14. 30,000 pigs lost? Try 30 sows and pigs, Anthony Gough, The Courier Mail, 26 January 2011
  15. A correction saved their bacon Archived 26 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Media Watch, ABC Television, 7 February 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  16. Pigs still flying Archived 27 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Morning Bulletin, 8 September 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  17. Bungendore Memorial Awards Results (2016) Archived 19 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Bush Balladeers website. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  18. "QI: Series M, Episode 5 - Maths". 20 November 2015.
  19. Zimmer, Ben (7 February 2011). "Correction of the Year". Language Log, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, University of Pennsylvania.
  20. Time for a Fair Go, Prime Minister Archived 31 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Morning Bulletin, 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  21. Rockhampton mayor apologises for clown picture of PM Archived 11 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Brisbane Times, 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  22. Malcolm Turnbull gets apology over Rockhampton clown front page, Jared Owens, The Australian, 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  23. Endangered Characters of Australia: Rod Emmerson Archived 27 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Mick Joffe, 1993,, 15 September 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  24. Clowngate: Our Aussie cartoonist hits back at Michael Cheika, The New Zealand Herald, 23 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016
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