PHOTOS | Front page memories as the Leader celebrates 60 years

Sixty years ago this week, the first edition of the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader rolled off the presses.

The publication of the new regional newspaper on June 29, 1960, was described as "a new era in journalism" for two great districts with common interests.

Thanks to the support of readers and advertisers, the Leader has grown to become Australia's biggest community newspaper, with total monthly readership (combined print and digital) of 456,000. The paper has also been judged Best Suburban Newspaper on multiple occasions.

The first edition stated "The Leader's first object will be to cover faithfully the important news of the area'', and it has never wavered from that mission.

Over the next week, the Leader will bring back memories with a selection of photos from our archives, starting with some of the front pages from 1960s' editions.

Two special front pages - the first edition on June 29, 1960 and a very memorable edition on April 29, 2020, during coronavirus.

Two special front pages - the first edition on June 29, 1960 and a very memorable edition on April 29, 2020, during coronavirus.

From day one, there was much to report because of the rapid change occurring across the region.

Skyrocketing motor vehicle ownership was exposing an inadequate road system, regional shopping centres were being planned and residents in many suburbs were rising up against the scourge of "flats".

The first edition revealed it could be another five years before the proposed Taren Point bridge was built to replace the car ferry, or punt as it was commonly known.

There was also criticism the proposed bridge would only be four lanes, although it would "feed the six-lane Southern Expressway", which is now known as the M6 (F6).

Captain Cook Bridge opened in 1965 and authorities heeded the criticism and made it six lanes, but it has taken until this year for work to start on the first stage of M6.

Plans were also unveiled in 1960 for a bridge across Salt Pan Creek to connect Riverwood and Padstow, to be followed by a bridge over Georges River at Mickeys Point (opposite and west of Alfords Point).

The latter proposal became the Alfords Point Bridge, which opened in 1973, replacing the punt between Lugarno and Illawong.

Trains were struggling to cope with the shire's growing population, with complaints that Cronulla services were slower than 10 years earlier and that a trip to the city often took 63 minutes.

Duplication of the single track crossing of Georges River at Como finally occurred in 1972.

The state government rejected a proposal for a rail link from Caringbah to Kogarah in conjunction with the new road bridge.

Sixty years later, there are long-term plans for a light rail link from Miranda to Kogarah.

In 1960, shopping customs were about to change forever, with plans unveiled for Miranda Fair and a smaller centre at Sylvania, which was a forerunner to Southgate.

By the middle of the decade, Roselands, Miranda Fair, Southside Plaza at Rockdale and the first stage of the Hurstville Super Centre were operating.

The 1960s also saw a huge growth in air travel and bigger aircraft, leading to the extension of a runway into Botany Bay and construction of a new international terminal.

Dredging for the runway, coupled with severe storms, led to massive erosion of the foreshores.

Residents, alarmed by the spread of "flats," claimed Brighton-Le-Sands was becoming "a new Kings Cross" and Cronulla "another Bondi".

The secretary of the Brighton Progress Association said "some are on allotments of a frightfully small area, lacking sufficient space for yards".

Residents were alarmed when work started on the landmark Tradewinds development on Cronulla Point, with claims it would "dwarf every other building in Sutherland Shire".

Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, including the conscription of 20-year-old men through a birthday ballot, resulted in angry scenes when Prime Minister Harold Holt visited Rockdale and Miranda during the 1966 election campaign.

On the sporting field, St George rugby league club chalked up 11 straight premiership wins and built a new leagues club, dubbed the Taj Mahal, at Carlton.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks joined the league's top competition in 1967 and opened a new club and home ground, Endeavour Field, at Woolooware.