Community News – still going strong after 15 years


Community News – also known as “the Bugle” has become a trusted electronic source of information exchange for those that live in the Channel and surrounds – and for many who don’t even reside in the region. Delivered to inboxes near and far, and at regular intervals – Community News is the email that keeps on giving.

Many think that email is a modern day marvel. In fact email, in its simplest form, has been around since the early 1960s, when you could send a message to the same computer.

Cut to the early 1970s. A bloke called Ray Tomlinson is widely recognised as the “inventor” of email – in 1971. He developed the first system to send “mail” between users on different hosts across the ARPANET (the original internet), using the @ sign to link the user name with a destination server. By the mid-1970s this system was commonly known as email. There’s a great series of articles on the Conversation about the birth of the Internet – they’re worth a read!

So here we are, nearly 50 years later and email is very much a vital part of the way we communicate.

Long-time Woodbridgean, Rod Barwick, first started using the wonders of email to advertise Perry Pictures Film Society – the long running community movie night held in the Woodbridge Hall. From there Rod realised that the database of subscribers he had built would be a great way to share information around the Community. He got that right!

Rod estimates the first Community News was delivered to dozens of inboxes sometime around 2005.

Ding! You have new mail…

Looking at my inbox now I see Community News number 1,198 has just landed!

With over 650 subscribers to date – the Community News has entrenched itself as an easy way to keep the subscribers abreast of, who has what on offer and what event, program or community consultation is happening.

Free from commercial advertisers – it is what it title suggests – community news. Be it advertising a West Winds community program, a Woodbridge Hall event – all the way through to a family wanting to buy a house, horse or hay. Rod says that the Community News has resulted in countless houses being sold or rented.

“So many times the advert for a house sale or rental for example doesn’t even get to the Community News. Between myself, and our all seeing and hearing Woodbridge postmistress, Kelly Eckel, we manage to point people in the right direction without the need to advertise”.

“That’s the great thing about the Bugle, it’s all about a community looking out for each other, lending a helping hand and using our local knowledge and community connections to help people out – and I take great pleasure in helping make those connections,” Rod said.

Rod has received some great feedback over the years. Many folk who have since moved from the district, but still maintain their Community News subscription. They are flung wide and far – from Western Australia and across the country – some from other parts of the globe. They tell Rod it’s great to keep up to date, through the Bugle, on what is going on and gives them fond memories of their time in the region and the friends they have made.

Rod tries to get a few issues of the Bugle out each week depending on what’s happening, & what subscribers have sent in. He has also managed to keep the Bugle issuing, even when he and Coral were on one of their many road trips around Australia. Coral remembers hanging precariously over the Darling River at Menindee in NSW with an internet dongle in hand, just so Rod could get a signal to send the Bugle out to the waiting subscribers! Now that’s what I call commitment to the cause!

So, come what may, you can expect Rod to be sitting at the home office desk (or in a camp chair near a river bank somewhere in this wide brown land) collecting the news and requests and giving his Mail account a good working over. The Community News has now become an institution in these here parts and it’s Rod’s intention to keep the tradition rolling on.

So join up to have the Community News delivered to your inbox! Drop Rod a line and ask him to add you to the 650 plus subscribers today.
Email Rod at:

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Phil has been a denizen of southern Tasmania’s D'Entrecasteaux Channel region for over 25 years, A skilled and experienced communicator Phil has, over a 40 year career in public, private and volunteer roles, helped a diverse array of people, organisations and communities tell their stories, share their ideas and spread their messages, through an array of communication channels. He is keen to kindle Channel Telegraph readers' interest in adding their voices and ideas to these pages - informing, educating and entertaining its readers – believing an informed community is a stronger, and ultimately, a more resilient community.