LINDSAY, Mr Douglas McLean

1904  -  1974

Lindsay Douglas Mclean - Creswick Historical SocietyDouglas McLean Lindsay (known as Doug), was born in Kerang, Victoria on 30th June, 1904, the elder child of John and Alice Lindsay.  He had a younger sister, Jean.  He grew up in Kerang and completed his education at the local High School (by coincidence, being taught by E. J. Semmens who was later at the Creswick School of Forestry).  Doug finished his schooling at Year 11 – Leaving Certificate, but returned to the school after the summer holidays as a teacher of Maths and English.

After a year or two of teaching Doug returned to work on the family farm as his father was ill.  He later applied for and started work as a reporter on the Kerang Times.  He was still working there in 1928 when, on a train trip, he met Talbot Nolan who was then the owner of the Creswick Advertiser and was in need of an Editor.  An agreement was reached and Doug moved to Creswick as Editor of the Creswick paper which was then published twice weekly.

The company was not simply a newspaper.  It was a thriving printing business that did work for scores of businesses throughout the Ballarat district and further afield.

As Editor, Doug also had the responsibility of reporting the doings of all the many organisations, clubs and sporting teams, local news and anything else that happened in Creswick.  Of course this gave him entrée to all of these entities and eventually he joined many of them and took office in several.

In 1941, Doug married Marguerite (Marge) who also became involved with the newspaper, particularly supporting Doug when he was ill in 1960, when she had to edit the paper while he recovered.  They lived at first in Clunes Road before moving to 118 Napier Street and they had three children: Jennifer (1943), David (1946) and Jeanette (1949).

In the late 1930s Doug became State Secretary of the Potato Growers Association of Victoria, a position he held for many years. Coming from a farming background, he had a broad appreciation of problems affecting farming people and retained a personal interest in country affairs and betterment of country towns.

He started and published a weekly newspaper called Potato Grower News which had a circulation to local producers, national and even overseas organisations and his enthusiasm, work and advice was greatly appreciated by growers.  During WW2 especially, farmers were anxious to know what was happening in the industry under wartime controls, as potatoes were considered to be an essential food and the Government supported production. This involvement continued until his retirement in 1974.

As well as his duties at the paper, Doug became involved in nearly every community organisation around the town and district. He was a Government appointee on the Creswick Hospital Committee for over thirty years until his death.  He was Treasurer for many years and President of this Committee from 1941 to 1943.  In the Annual Report of 1974/75, the Senior Vice President Mr Colin Wrigley expressed the Board’s sympathy and acknowledged his outstanding contribution to the Committee.

He was on the Committee of Management of the Koala Park and the St. Georges Lake Reserve.  This was a Government appointment, as noted in the Victorian Government Gazette.  Mr Lindsay served on the Committee of the Koala Park and St Georges Lake Reserve until his death.

He played a part in the Elderly Citizen’s Club, Creswick Progress Association, Creswick Swimming Club, Creswick Golf Club, Creswick Tennis Club, Sports-men’s Club, Angler’s Club and the Clunes Football League, of which Creswick was part at that time.

Calambeen Park was important to the town -  the centre of town in summer - special trains coming from Melbourne for swimming and diving competitions and Music for the People.  Many people will recall the Australia Day Carnivals and the Miss Creswick Competition.  Doug was on this Committee for at least twenty-six years.

Doug was a long-time member of the Board of Management of St Andrew’s Church, of which he was also an Elder. He also served as a Justice of the Peace for many years.

He was a regular and talented member of a troupe of singers and actors called the St. Andrews Players who entertained throughout the district over many years.  Marge, who was also a member, and Doug often played opposite each other in productions.

His community involvement also extended to teaching clubs how to conduct meetings.

Doug was a member of the Creswick Havilah Lodge for fifty years, being Master of the lodge from 1941 to 1942 and Treasurer from 1956 to 1970.

Doug Lindsay and the business partners, in moving their business from a very old run-down building on the site of the ANZ Bank, and erecting a new, purpose-built premises in Albert Street, was a real confidence booster for the town.  The paper sustained usually about five families and did so for decades.  It was the second oldest continuing newspaper in Victoria, after the Geelong Advertiser.

Doug showed real leadership qualities in the way he treated people equally.  He did not take sides and whilst urged to stand for Council on many occasions he always took the middle ground so that everyone could get a fair hearing.  He was courted by both sides of politics but always treated them equally and courteously.

Through his position with the paper he was instrumental in creating appeal funds for people who had suffered disasters, and district people always contributed strongly.

For years there was a radio appeal for funds on 3CV for all the hospitals of the region, and Doug was the voice of Creswick Hospital.  He was also the usual suspect when a compere was required for events like a beauty pageant at Calembeen Park on Australia Day, or Music for the People concerts in the pines behind the lake.

Doug and his partners worked right through the Depression years, through the wartime and post-war years when times were tough for everyone.  They sustained the district with information that was vital for everybody’s spirits.

Doug was highly regarded by his peers.  Many tributes were given when the business was sold in early 1974 and the Shire Council held a celebratory dinner and presented Doug with a picture and a plaque to be attached to the Advertiser building.  Hepburn Shire acknowledged Doug’s contribution and support as the roving reporter of sport in the community by naming the sporting reserve “The Doug Lindsay Reserve, Creswick” on the western edge of Creswick, in his honour.

When Doug Lindsay passed away in 1974 many tributes were given for his newspaper work, his work with potato growers, his many community involvements and most of all for his contribution to the spirit of the town through his activities.

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