atty Post was founded in 1914 by Kevin Nutsworth Oliver Batty, one of the earliest Batty Bay settlers. Shortly after the first edition hit the printing presses, Kevin Batty was drafted to serve in the Royal Canadian Army as a saxophone player. In between keeping the troops entertained during the battle of Polygon Wood, he was sending his war dispatches back home to Batty Bay, where his wife Agatha Batty had taken over operations of the Post.
Kevin Batty returned from Europe in 1918 to discover his wife’s hard work had built Batty Post into a successful regional newspaper with a circulation of 143 readers. The Battys decided it was time to introduce their only child, Eliza Batty, into the family business, and she was the first finance correspondent for the paper, based in New York City.
Eliza was interviewing the boss of the New York Stock Exchange on a Tuesday in October 1929 when her notepad accidentally hit a lever in the control room, triggering all the stocks to be sold short.
‘The ensuing economic crisis known as the great depression was almost certainly causeD by batty’s mistake’ – Steinbeck, 1929
Eliza’s tenure as a finance journalist was over, but she returned to Batty Bay in 1943 after her father passed away from saxophonist’s gout at the age of 112. As the new chief editor, Eliza’s style was described by most readers as ‘pathetic’, and the circulation dwindled to single digits. By 1965 the newspaper was heavily in debt and without a single advertiser.
Despite the challenges, there was one bright spot in Eliza’s life. Her marriage to Cuthbert Flake Jnr. in 1955 had yielded a strapping young lad, who was named Frank Ignacio Batty despite the protestations of Cuthbert (although he eventually agreed that naming the poor boy Frank Flake would have been a cruel joke).
From a young age, Frank proved to have a way with words, often getting into trouble for forging permissions slips and taking them to his kindergarten class.
‘I was immediately suspicious when the note said “My Mother hereby gives me permission to replace my afternoon juice box with a martini’ – Frank’s kindergarten teacher, 1961
Despite the early love affair with alcohol, Frank was a bright student and excelled when he started classes at Batty Bay Elementary. In fact, he was so talented that he was able to skip several grades and enrolled at Columbia University’s school of Journalism at the age of 10. Frank started to submit copy to the Batty Post, and against all odds the circulation slowly picked up on the back of his insightful editorials.
In 1984, Eliza Batty and Cuthbert Flake Jnr. were tragically killed in a canning accident at the Batty Bay Tuna Works. The exact details of the incident have never been released, although there was a great special on seafood that year at the Batty Bay Grocery Store. Frank took over as Chief Editor following the tragic demise of his parents and retains that position to this day.