On 1 August, 1992 the first edition of VicNews (The Victorian News) rolled of the press -well, actually a dot-matrix printer and lots of photocopying – was distrubuted throughout Montmorency, St Helena, Greensborough, Greenhills, Eltham, Eltham North, Lower Plenty, Apollo Parkways.
Prior to this, Geelan had published the hand-made Geelan Globe newspaper in primary school using a mechanical typewriter, stencils and The Lettering Book.
VicNews was (and still is) officially registered as a newspaper and issued an ISSN even before the first edition rolled of the dot matrix colour printer.
As a 14-year-old future journalist, the propietor of Geelan Media, Ashley Geelan, loved newspapers.
Anything to do with the media. Regular train trips to MacGills Newsagency in Melbourne to buy USA Today, Washington Post, London Times and many other international, regional and interstate newspapers whilst his friends went to Minotaurs comic book store.
When Geelan was selling newspapers for Briar Hill Newsagency on the morning commute at the intersections of St Helena Road/Karingal Drive and Weidlich Road/Karingal Drive he would insert copies of VicNews into all the papers he was selling to passing commuters before heading off to secondary school.
By late 1992, Geelan was using an AMIGA 2000HD+ computer’s audio out connected to a 27MHz CB radio’s MIC input to send data packets over the airwaves to friend’s computers at the ‘other end’ who could then decode the packets with thier computers and read updated (text only) news reports. It’s why VicNews had “monthly UPDATED newspaper” as an ad on the first edition’s front page.
Within a few years, sending data packets between computers became mainstream with the advent of something called the ‘internet’, making VicNews Australia’s first truly online newspaper.
Yep, it was VicNews, bought to you by a 14-year-old future journalist and CB radio operator that first published news online, beating even the ABC by two years.
In between VicNews has come and gone, been revived again, done other projects, published under other names such as Kinglake Ranges News, designed and built websites for other businesses, published the radio frequencies of many Government departments so journalists and newsrooms could tune in live to police, military, fire and many other goings on and hear what was happening from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
Today, 1 August 2022, we celebrate 30 years of VicNews, when Ashley Geelan began his own journalism journey at just 14 years of age.
Soon we’ll publish a complete timeline of Geelan Media and Ashley Geelan’s family involvement in Victoria’s media, dating back to when his great-great maternal grandfather, Geroge Mitchell started at The Age in 1858, aged just 10 years old.
The Geelan’s and Mitchell’s have a history of involvement in Victoria’s media dating back to the earliest times of Victoria’s (white) settlement.
And, Ashley Geelan thanks those that made VicNews possible from the start to today. Cherly Geelan (nee Mitchell) (Mum), Graeme Geelan (Dad), George Mitchell (Great-Great Grandpa), Charlie Mitchell (Grandpa), Shirley Mitchell (Grandma), Gordon Geelan (Pop), Eve Geelan (Nan), and all the wider Geelan and Mitchell families. Love to you all.
Geelan also thanks his school mates and teachers who made VicNews possible. Tim Bryce, Murat Yildiz, Steven ‘Mossa’ Damos, Tim Bryce, Kane ‘Badger’ Spencer, Travis Beattie, David Goddard , Montmorency SC librarian, Mrs Barbara Clements, Media teacher Mr Ian Toohill and many others.
Geelan also wishes to thank Leader Newspapers (Northcote) for his first professional experience as a journalist when he was taken off the fax machine and put on rounds, aged 16. The Border Mail for publishing articles for the 1995 Albury Show, Mountain Views Mail, Mountain Monthly, Whittlesea Review, North Central Review, ABC Local Radio and others for their support.
Senior journalists Peter Gregory and Dr Nasya Bahfen for their support, Channel 31, The Junction, La Trobe University, Nic Hopkins (Google Australia) and many others.
THANK YOU ONE AND ALL.
We’ll release a timeline soon that shows Geelan’s media journey from when his family began at The Age in 1858 to today as we continue to grow. We will also be continually working to add all our archival material from the beginning to today. Unfortunately some was lost in Kinglake’s 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, but much still remains.
CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF VicNews. The Victorian News.
AUSTRALIA’S FIRST ONLINE NEWS SERVICE.