The first newspaper published in Ashburton was the Ashburton Mail, which was started as a bi-weekly publication by Joseph Ivess in June 1877. Competition followed closely behind when the Evening Echo, Ashburton’s first daily newspaper, appeared on 11 March 1878. The Echo was established by Charles Dixon (1853-1915) and Smith James Furness (1852-1921). In September 1878 Horace John Weeks replaced Furness in the partnership. Furness subsequently owned the Marlborough Express and the Furness family controlled the Express for many years.
On 22 February 1879, the Echo appeared in an enlarged format under the new title of the Ashburton Herald. In the same year, Ivess started a short-lived rival, the Evening News. No copies of the Evening News are known to exist; according to Ross Harvey it ‘was probably established only as an election newspaper to support Edward George Wright as Conservative candidate for the Coleridge electorate’. (Turnbull Library Record May 1988)
Dixon and Weeks entered the morning market with the tri-weekly Ashburton Guardian in September 1879. However Ashburton was unable to support this proliferation of newspapers and in October 1880 the Guardian and the Ashburton Herald were merged into a daily evening newspaper, under the title of the Ashburton Guardian.
The Ashburton Guardian incorporated the Ashburton Mail in 1932 and under the ownership of the Bell family has been a long-running and successful daily provincial newspaper.
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