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The South Canterbury Times first appeared in Timaru in March 1873. It was owned and published by Edward Ball (c.1833-1921). Previously the newspaper had been known as the Timaru and Gladstone Gazette, which Ball started in 1870, in partnership with Henry John Turner (c.1831-1907). In May 1872 the Timaru and Gladstone Gazette offices were destroyed by fire, along with six adjacent buildings, although the staff managed to save the newspaper, type and two presses. Soon after the fire, Ball bought Turner out and changed the name of the paper to the South Canterbury Times.

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