Entrepreneurs at heart

Phil and Marilyn Collins are the founders of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine. To celebrate this 100th milestone edition, we have asked Marilyn to take a walk down memory lane.

Being married to an entrepreneur nothing ever surprised me, so when Phil first floated the idea for what would become Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine, I knew he would be determined to make his vision a reality. After all, in 1982 when we moved from Sydney’s North Shore to West Lake Macquarie, he came home one day and said, “We should start a tabloid newspaper as the area doesn’t have one!” And so, we did.

Let’s just do it!

He had no prior media experience and I wasn’t a journo but I could type and do shorthand. We were in for quite the learning curve with the ‘Morisset and Westlake Courier’. We didn’t have a computer, or a fax and email hadn’t even been thought of. The newspaper was laid out with a Stanley knife and a glue stick. And while it was extremely hard work, it soon became the voice of the community. After ten years, we sold it to Newcastle Newspapers who sadly shut it down after a mere six months.
Then, in 1992, we were enjoying a houseboat weekend on the Myall Lakes with friends and Phil was flicking through magazines left on the boat. “The Hunter should have one of these magazines,” he said, holding up a copy of Life in the Southern Highland Region of NSW. “Why not, we should start one.”

It was a case of deja vu for me and I quit my position with Cumberland Newspapers to join him.

Thankfully, technology had evolved and made life a lot easier. Gone were the bromide cameras, and desktop publishing was quickly becoming the new normal. At the time, Dustin Sippel, an 18-year-old self-taught computer enthusiast from Tamworth was working for Phil on the Newcastle Home Show. Together, Dustin and I worked out how to put such a magazine together – it certainly was a challenge. Phil went off to sell advertisements and I contacted all my sources, asking if I could feature them or their house in the first magazine.

Six months later, in March 1993, we launched our first edition at the old Railway Sheds on the foreshore, now the Newcastle Museum.

Read more in the Summer issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.