The Morning Bulletin

Type newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) APN News & Media
Editor Frazer Pearce
Founded 9 July 1861
Language English
Headquarters Rockhampton, Australia
220 Bolsover Street
Rockhampton City QLD 4700
Circulation 14,700 Monday–Friday
50,000 Saturday

The Morning Bulletin is a daily newspaper servicing the city of Rockhampton and the surrounding areas of Central Queensland, Australia.


The first issue of The Bulletin was launched on 9 July 1861. It is the second oldest business in Rockhampton, the oldest being the Criterion Hotel which was established in October 1860.

The founder and original owner, William Hitchcock Buzacott (1831–1880), brought the press and equipment form Sydney in 1861 where he operated a small weekly paper. At the time the paper was called the Rockhampton Bulletin and was eagerly read by the town's 698 residents.

The Bulletin's original home was in Quay Street near the old Customs House, in a low wooden building. On 14 August 1862, this was burnt down and the presses destroyed. Buzacott quickly obtained new equipment from Sydney and the newspaper was re-established in a two-storey masonry building in Denham Street. By 1926, the Denham Street building was too small and the newspaper returned to Quay Street in their new (and now heritage-listed) Bulletin Building.[1]

In 2007, the printing equipment that had been part of the newspaper's production facilities at the Bulletin Building were relocated to APN's new printing facilities in Hempenstall Street in the Rockhampton suburb of Kawana, a more industrial part of the city.[2]

After almost 88 years of newspaper staff working from the Bulletin Building, The Morning Bulletin ceased operating from the iconic three-storey building on 21 March 2014.

The newspaper temporarily relocated to an office at 35 Fitzroy Street opposite the City Centre Plaza shopping centre.[3]

Despite The Morning Bulletin's editor Frazer Pearce favourably describing the building at 35 Fitzroy Street as "decades ahead" for the functionality of an evolving business,[4] the newspaper only remained at the address for approximately six months.

After briefly working from 35 Fitzroy Street, The Morning Bulletin relocated again in late 2014 to their current location at 220 Bolsover Street, where the newspaper is currently produced from a small ground-level office in a building shared with the ANZ Bank, Bank of Queensland and Ray White Real Estate.

In August 2015, it was announced former Rockhampton resident Bevan Slattery had purchased the old Bulletin Building. At the time of purchase, Slattery said he didn't have any firm plans for the old newspaper building, but hoped to eventually create a space to expand his business while helping other start-up businesses.[5]

The newspaper was published as The Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser from July 1861 to 14 January 1871. Then as The Rockhampton Bulletin from 1871 to 1878. From 1878 onwards the newspaper was published as The Morning Bulletin.


The newspaper is printed daily Monday to Saturday and contains local, entertainment and information news. It is the only daily paper that serves the Central Queensland region.

The Morning Bulletin is a part of the APN News & Media network which is one of Australia's largest newspaper publishers. The Morning Bulletin employs over 100 people.

The Morning Bulletin has a $1.50 cover price on weekdays, increasing to $2.00 for the weekend edition. It is in tabloid format. As of 2013, The Bulletin has a circulation of 14,700 from Monday to Friday, and a Saturday circulation of 20,200.[6]


Copies of the old newspapers up until the end of 1954 have been digitised as part of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program of the National Library of Australia.[7][8]

'30,000 pigs' controversy

In 2011, The Morning Bulletin received criticism for not verifying an unusually high number when reporting on pigs being swept away in floodwaters from a farm near Baralaba, Queensland. The newspaper reported that a farmer claimed he had lost 30,000 pigs which had been swept down the Dawson River and into the Fitzroy River, which flows through Rockhampton.

The Morning Bulletin issued a retraction the following day, explaining that the reporter had misheard the farmer who had actually said he lost thirty sows and pigs, rather than 30,000 pigs.[9][10]

The error and subsequent apology garnered widespread attention and was featured on the ABC's Media Watch program [11] and was parodied on the ABC's comedy series Lowdown when Adam Zwar's character made the same mistake.[12]

Australian country performer Keith Jamieson also released a comedy recording centred around the newspaper's error, entitled "Thirty Sows & Pigs". The recording won 'Best Comedy Release' at the 2016 Bungendore Country Music Muster & Awards in Bungendore, New South Wales.[13]

Clown controversy

On 27 October 2016, The Morning Bulletin made national news headlines when it depicted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a clown, with an accompanying headline which read: "Stop Clowning Around Malcolm: It's time you got serious about giving CQ a Fair Go". A large illustration of Turnbull in a clown's costume was published on the front page of the newspaper's print edition, alongside an open letter from "The Morning Bulletin (on behalf of the people of Central Queensland)". The cartoon was also included in the online version of the letter.[14]

The cartoon prompted Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow to publicly apologise to Turnbull during his scheduled visit to the city.[15] In an interview on local radio station 4RO, Strelow told Turnbull that the illustration on the front page of the newspaper did not represent the general community and that Central Queenslanders were delighted to have him visit the region. Turnbull thanked Strelow for the apology but insisted it was not required.[16]

The clown illustration in The Morning Bulletin came just days after the newspaper's former cartoonist Rod Emmerson [17] had made international news headlines with his depiction of Michael Cheika as a clown in The New Zealand Herald. Emmerson's illustration provoked a strong defensive reaction from Cheika.[18]


  1. "Bulletin Building (entry 601582)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  2. Farewell to old Quay St and the lovely view of Fitzroy River, Frazer Pearce, The Morning Bulletin, 22 March 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2016
  3. The Bulletin is moving to a new home on the weekend, Frazer Pearce, The Morning Bulletin, 17 March 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2016
  4. Farewell to old Quay St and the lovely view of Fitzroy River, Frazer Pearce, The Morning Bulletin, 22 March 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2016
  5. Bully building has IT factor, Michelle Gately, The Morning Bulletin, 22 August 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2016
  6. "About us". The Morning Bulletin. APN News & Media. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  7. "Newspaper and magazine titles". Trove. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  8. "Newspaper Digitisation Program". Trove. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  9. 30,000 Pigs Didn't Float Down River According To Hilarious Newspaper Correction, Katla McGlynn, Huffington Post, 10 February 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  10. 30,000 pigs lost? Try 30 sows and pigs, Anthony Gough, The Courier Mail, 26 January 2011
  11. A correction saved their bacon, Media Watch, ABC Television, 7 February 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  12. Pigs still flying, The Morning Bulletin, 8 September 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  13. Bungendore Memorial Awards Results (2016), Bush Balladeers website. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  14. Time for a Fair Go, Prime Minister, The Morning Bulletin, 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  15. Rockhampton mayor apologises for clown picture of PM, Brisbane Times, 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  16. Malcolm Turnbull gets apology over Rockhampton clown front page, Jared Owens, The Australian, 27 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  17. Endangered Characters of Australia: Rod Emmerson, Mick Joffe, 1993,, 15 September 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2016
  18. Clowngate: Our Aussie cartoonist hits back at Michael Cheika, The New Zealand Herald, 23 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016
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