Ocean Grove is a growing coastal town on the Bellarine Peninsula in Australia’s southern Victoria. It is bounded by the surf of the Southern Ocean, the Barwon River and native bushland. About 12,000 permanent residents call it home.
The area was originally inhabited by the Bengalat balug (clan) of the Wathaurong Tribe and was settled by Europeans in the early 19th centuy, initially called Newington.
Ocean Grove was founded in 1887 by American Wesleyans who planned an interdenominational settlement, named after their home town - Ocean Grove - in New Jersey, USA.
It was proclaimed a township in 1958 and has continued to thrive ever since.
Ocean Grove is an enviable place to live and work, offering something for all - a place to grow up and grow old.
Hence the need for a newspaper to act as a record and a champion for this historic but fast developing community.
Although Ocean Grove has a history of starting newspapers, they have either spread out to include other townships, or retired gracefully.
The Ocean Grove Voice was conceived and designed in late 2004 as a truly Ocean Grove newspaper. Branded in the livery of the Grubbers Football/Netball Club - it was launched in March the next year. A red top in loyalty and style.
It came about after six months of research and meeting up with locals to find out whether they actually wanted their own newspaper.
The unanimous answer was ‘yes!’ and the date March 16 was set to launch the Voice, the town’s first full colour weekly tabloid.
In February 2006 it went into hibernation for a year but with the intention of relaunching with some modifications. This time around it was recreated as a convenient quarto size. The aim in many ways was to deliver something that stood out from the rest but still had newspaper impact. Initially it was a monthly but that has now been stepped up to bi-monthly and the paper has been up and running solidly since July 2007.
In March 2009 the Ocean Grove Voice opened its first offices in the town centre, making it the first newspaper to do so in many years. Up until then the Voice had been produced as a home business.
The title of the newspaper was twofold. It had to have Ocean Grove in the masthead because it is - and always will be - an Ocean Grove newspaper. There is no intention for it to become another regional newspaper. The Voice recognises that readers want more local news about their town.
The Voice part of the name derives in part from other enterprising examples of publishing stretching from New York to Newquay and aims, as it suggests, to give the town a voice.
There are scores of great communities in Ocean Grove, all doing great things - separately.
If at the end of the day the Voice can offer a focal point that helps bring Ocean Grove’s individual communities together, then it’s a worthwhile effort.
The aim is to keep improving the Ocean Grove Voice and we value the thoughts of our readers. If you have ideas and articles you would like to see in the Voice contact firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the editor Alan Barber at PO Box 54 Ocean Grove