On July 9, 1898, the first edition of The Port Pirie Recorder was published by A.E. South and Charles Meyrick from an office opposite the Family Hotel on Ellen Street.
At first they published on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but by April 6, 1914, Pirie had grown to a great industrial centre and the time was deemed right to produce a daily.
Linotype displaced the old hand compositor, and as the town expanded in size and importance, its paper grew in influence.
J.E. Davidson, a widely experienced journalist and newspaper producer, bought the business in 1919 and shortened its name to the title it still bears today.
He hired George Brickhill, notable for having been the first general secretary of the Australian Journalists’ Association, as editor.
Disaster struck that year when the office and plant were badly damaged by fire.
Valuable war records and local historical files were destroyed, but staff continued to publish a small news sheet from a temporary office across the street.
In 1923, Mr Davidson departed for Adelaide to found The News, and The Recorder was acquired by the company he started: News Limited.
Change continued when The Recorder shifted to 52 Alexander Street in December, 1927, and its staff worked around the clock to make sure they did not miss an issue.
Horace Yelland and his company, Recorder Proprietary Limited, purchased the newspaper on December 1, 1931.
Disaster struck again less than three years later when, on August 14, 1934, Port Pirie suffered the worst flood in its history.
Water swept through The Recorder’s office, and despite a lack of electric power, dauntless staff members still managed to bring out a makeshift news sheet the next day.
By the following Monday, four days later, regular production had resumed.
A second fire ravaged the premises, destroying a storeroom full of newsprint, shortly after widely respected journalist C.P. “Cec” Murn became editor in 1941.
But his guidance – and his columns “Busy Street, Quiet Corner” and “Mirror of the Years” – helped The Recorder during the following period in which it dropped back to three issues per week.
In the 1950s, The Recorder was sold at the gate to most of the smelter’s 2000 workers prior to clocking on every morning.
A succession of ownership changes ensued in the following decades.
It was taken over by a partnership of R.M. and D.G. Edwards, W.J.C. Willson and F.G. Ogg in 1954; the Edwards brothers bought out their partners in 1959; and Ray Edwards gained sole control in 1966.
In 1971 it was briefly combined with Port Augusta’s Transcontinental as The Northern Observer; then divided again and sold to the Willson family company, Northern Newspapers, which published the Whyalla News
The Recorder joined Australia’s largest rural media group in 1991 when all three Spencer Gulf newspapers were sold to Rural Press.
Now the publication is one of the many mastheads part of Fairfax Media.
At that time it moved again, along with The Flinders News, to the old St Mark’s Primary School building at 103 Gertrude Street.
The Recorder was on the move again in 2013 after leaving their home of more than 20 years.
Extensive works were carried out to an old electrical store and credit union to have 10 Mary Elie Street ready for The Recorder to call it home.
In addition to gathering news, The Recorder has always endeavoured to react to the issues and fight for the causes of the community, now led by editor and fourth-generation Piriean Dylan Smith as well as manager Jennifer Wainwright.
No community is complete without a local newspaper, and The Recorder’s enduring success is a reflection of its acceptance by the people of Port Pirie.
As the paper’s motto says: “You can’t beat a local”.