Beware of fake first Express’

Blow the cobwebs off: The first ever Express, straight out of the archives.



IT took months of forensic analysis to crack this code.

First edition Express’ are as rare as hens teeth, so when a call came through informing the newsroom that one had surfaced in Yallourn North, excitement was naturally fever-pitch.

Yallourn North resident Dianne Perkins stumbled across the piece at the Yallourn North Op Shop, sitting atop a filing cabinet.

Don’t all the good finds get discovered in op shops?

Upon first inspection of the copy, the quality of the newspaper was the most startling aspect. Hardly any damage or crumbled edges from a newspaper thought to be the real deal from almost 60 years ago.

A flick through the pages offered a fascinating insight into Valley life in 1965.

The lead story? A half hour SEC documentary being filmed in the Valley – in colour mind you (although spelt American-style).

Other stories on the front page show a photograph of Morwell teacher Kathy Choules (then 20) filing letters to local businesses to help fundraise for the Spastic Children Society through her Miss Australia quest.

There is also a strip pointing to disputes over local football grounds.

How little has changed.

Having generously donated her copy for potential display in the Express office, some further investigations needed to be undertaken.

Was this indeed a ‘ridgy-didge’ original?

Like an episode of Pawn Stars – we called in an expert.

Fortunately, the expert was within the Express’ own four walls – production manager Wayne Musgrove.

As someone who has worked in newspaper production for decades, ‘Muz’ would surely be able to tell if we had struck gold.

Cautiously hoping we had a prized possession in our hands, the newspaper in question was placed on trial.

There was general agreeance surrounding the high quality state of the paper itself, and for a fleeing moment, those gathered around entertained the thoughts that this one, yes this one, was an original Express from 1965.

Alas, hopes dashed – it was a fake.

The tell-tale reason? A series of grey computerised tabs spread across the middle of the paper. Known as ‘colour bars’, this is the grey line you see in the middle of modern newspapers when opened up to full tabloid size.

These bars help printing press staff determine if they need to adjust colour levels on each and every page.

The Express reproduced a number of first editions for its 50th anniversary in 2015, and sorry to say, this almost certainly looks to be one of those replica versions.

A quick history lesson; the first Express was published on Wednesday, July 14 1965.

The cover price? A mere three pence – the Express coming just a year before the nation converted to the Australia dollar.

The Express was the brainchild of local journalist Patrick Hegarty, who saw the possibility for a regional newspaper with a ‘blanket circulation’ appealing to the entire Latrobe Valley community.

Before that, the big three towns of Traralgon, Morwell and Moe each had separate newspapers.

The Express has remained on George Street Morwell since 1965, but has moved a few doors down, from 37 to 21.

So don’t be fooled. There are fake Express’ out there.

Although, it is believed there are still a few, very select, originals out there.

Do you think you have a genuine first edition Latrobe Valley Express?

Get in touch with our newsroom on 03 5135 4444 or email

Blow the cobwebs off: The first ever Express, straight out of the archives.

Close but no cigar: A replica copy of the first Express