The Bruce Herald was published at Milton from 1864 to 1971. It was one of New Zealand’s longest running country newspapers.
The Herald was established by Joseph Mackay, a stationer and publisher from Dunedin. The Herald was one of a chain of newspapers that Mackay ran in Otago in the 1860s and 70s. Other papers in the chain included the Mataura Ensign at Gore and the Clutha Times at Balclutha.
Financial difficulties in the late 1870s forced Mackay out of newspaper publishing and in 1879 he sold the Herald to Francis Grant & Co. The paper changed hands several more times over the next fifty years. Reginald Augustus Pyke was probably the most significant of the later owners. Pyke ran and edited the paper several times between 1896 and 1915. His editorial policy was unashamedly parochial as he used the Herald to advance the economic interests of Milton and Bruce County. His lobbying, through the pages of the Herald, was instrumental in attracting a woollen mill to the town. The mill was for many years one of the main employers in Milton.
The Bruce Herald had a number of rivals in Milton between 1866 and 1910. The most notable were the Bruce Independent (1866-1867) and the Milton Mirror (1905-1910). The Independent provided some real competition for the short time it ran. Under Edward T. Gillon the paper gained much attention locally for its strong anti-provincial editorial policy. The impact of the Independent was such that the Herald increased the size of its issues from 4 to 8 pages. However Gallon’s views were too strong or at least too vigorously expressed for the directors of the Independent and the paper was wound up in 1867. The Milton Mirror was published by Charles Lewis Grant, a former employee of the Herald. The Mirror met with some success but was taken over by the Herald after a fire destroyed the Mirror’s office in 1910.
The Herald ceased publication on 7 October 1971.