VicNews was first published in print in 1992. It was first published online in 1994, but not ‘online’ as it is known today. In 1992 VicNews was updated as text-via-cb radio, using an AMIGA computer and 27MHz CB radio to send data packets. 

These 9600-baud data packets contained the text of updated news articles. Today, such a method is called ‘the Internet.’ That’s why at the bottom of the first edition front page it states: “Victoria’s official monthly UPDATED newspaper.” This was in 1992. Early ‘updates’ were published via HF CB to computers, before the earliest ‘internet’ was available. Hence, why we were an ‘updated’ newspaper in 1992. Then, as the internet became available, we published there too.

Back then, most media, including those I filed for as a kid or ‘stringer’ dismissed the internet as a ‘passing fad.’ Now, most people – from our own data (92% for 1-30 July 2023) – read our site on a smartphone. So much for a ‘passing fad.’ As is often the case, the ‘old school’ didn’t want to listen.

The AMIGA 2000HD+ is where VicNews began. The 27MHz CB is to the right of the photo. An external StationMaster MKI antenna sends the data. PHOTO: Ashley Geelan/VicNews Archives

The late Kerry Packer once said that the internet would just be used for “porn and gambling.” He was not wrong. He was wrong about what the internet would become.

We were Australia’s first online news site. Next came the ABC.

After filing news for regional and suburban newspapers for over 20 years, we decided to go out on our own with Kinglake Ranges News (online) on June 14, 2017. Over time, it was decided to revive the VicNews masthead, which was still registered as a title in the editor, Ashley Geelan’s, name at the National Library.

A new ISSN was applied for online publication to ensure work is archived for future generations to peruse.

Many barriers were encountered. Some we created for ourselves whilst others were orchestrated plans by some well-versed in the penny press model of publishing to destroy something that takes away the competition, once known as the ‘rivers of gold,’ that flowed to print media.

VicNews was only revived as a backup publication method after not having any luck with contacting senior journalists in Victoria’s major newsrooms regarding the late Father Robert ‘Bob’ Maguire.

VicNews also published 909 News (Eltham CFA) and Laker’s Lip (Kinglake Football Netball Club) newsletters. We also published the Australian Scanning Encyclopaedia for many years.

We’re not a 24/7 operation, but we are striving to bring more current news every day.

We don’t belong to any political party or any other group, such as religious or other quasi-religious organisations.

Future plans include both modern technologies, such as streaming, and broadcasting via old technology such as AM shortwave, as VicNews‘ develops and grows. The shortwave system will also serve as an emergency broadcast system when implemented. We will use the ‘sidebands’ of AM transmissions (as we did in 1994 with HF CB) to carry data via radio packet terrestrially or via satellite. Data that can be converted to text bulletins on the internet.

Test transmissions will be carried out following ACMA approval. Early tests will be on amateur radio frequencies carrying amateur radio news only as a QST.

We welcome, you, our readers, input into what you’d like to see covered. Positive and negative criticism is welcome as it helps us improve our reporting to you, the public.

And if you have an older radio with SW on the dial, we’d like to hear from you for emergency broadcast testing purposes. We’ll have details on that soon.

Thanks for joining us.

We also hope to restore some archival material that requires the acquisition of an AMIGA computer in the future as work continues on the site, secondary to field reporting and publishing.

A special shout out to the ‘cobbers’ who inspired this revival when we decided to pull the pin. Thanks to you, ‘We put the pin back in.’

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