Excerpt from the website published 2012-2019

Manilla Express Office 1907
The Local Paper 🗞


The MANILLA EXPRESS has been the major resource for the telling of Manilla's history down the years. Founded by the Vincent family of printers, it has been going to print on a continual basis since publishing its first edition on January 14, 1899, aside from a year or so of no publication during the second World War. Most original copies of the newspaper are held in the Manilla Community Archives, along with a set on microfilm, processed by the University of New England. The only known first edition is held in the Australian National Library - minus page 1. Early editions [1899-1955] are available to view online along with many other articles and references in the Australian National Library's 
TROVE listings.

Staff of the Manilla Express around 1910. Editor Cecil Vincent in foreground.

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History Webpage Screen Shot
History Webpage Screen Shot

Office of the Manilla Express in 1907.
This building is opposite the Town Hall.
First editions published at S/E corner Manilla & Court streets.

Former Express owner, Henry Cleave Vincent Jnr., first Editor for a time after his Uncle Arthur in 1900, was a prolific and articulate writer who returned as Editor of The Manilla Express, until  A. R. Macleod stepped into the job in 1923.


'The TRANSFORMATION of MANELLAE' was written by Alton Richmond Macleod (1887-1951), proprietor of The Manilla Express between 1918-1947. For his history book, he researched the pages of  the Manilla Express, editions of the Government Gazette, feature articles from major newspapers and drew upon local knowledge.
After editing the Express for 24 years, "Mac" sold the newspaper to George Greaves of Barraba in 1947, to concentrate on completing his book. With the aid of a mortgage, Macleod's history book was self-published in 1949, 2 years before his death.

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History of Manilla_Rotary Lapel Button A

Alton Richmond Macleod
 Editor, 1923-1947 


"A HISTORY OF MANILLA 1853-1979" by Marion Bignall (Macleod) (1914-2015) & Lindsay Bignall, (1913-2000), foundation members of Manilla Historical Society. Their research was based upon Alton Macleod's book, and the history brought up to date via additional articles from later editions of the Manilla Express and local oral history accounts.

This book was published in 1980 with the assistance of Manilla Historical Society and Manilla Shire Council. It is now out of print, but may be available for purchase online.

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Manilla History Book

Lindsay  &  Marion Bignall

Future Texts

In many locally published histories - however genuine the intent - flaws may be found, and texts inevitably disputed. Bias may also be revealed and sensitive topics conspicuously overlooked in histories drawn from self-reference. Historians today are fortunate to have many more avenues of research available to them and our purpose as 21st century historians is to further research the topics covered, further afield from our immediate resources, to evaluate past entries against other histories and to update the record.