04 April 2024

Vale Bruce Ellen
20/12/1958 – 27/3/2024

The PCFA community has lost one of its finest champions with the untimely passing of Bruce Ellen to prostate cancer.

Together with his good friend, the late Chris McPherson, Bruce helped to establish Biggest Ever Blokes’ Lunches in regional Victoria, raising significant funds for world-leading research, life-changing nurses, and locally attuned awareness.

He dedicated countless hours to the PCFA mission, determined to ensure that high quality prostate cancer care was accessible to men and families in the Latrobe Valley and surrounding regions.

Following his own diagnosis, Bruce’s remarkable contribution grew, fuelled by the desire to give men in the community every chance of detecting prostate cancer early. His actions no doubt saved the lives of many.

Bruce will be forever remembered by the PCFA community as a fierce advocate, a local pioneer, a loving family man, and a friend to all. 

We convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife Chris, his children Nick and Ashleigh, and his mother Dorothy.

The following tribute was published by Country Press Australia and the Victorian Country Press Association. We share this tribute in recognition of Bruce’s contribution and service to the Australian community.

Vale Bruce Charles Ellen

Country Press Australia and the Victorian Country Press Association extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of industry stalwart Bruce Ellen who passed away yesterday, surrounded by his family in Morwell.

The former Country Press Australia president and Victorian Country Press Association president dedicated more than four decades of his career to the newspaper industry, and in recognition of such outstanding service was made a Life Member of both Country Press Australia and the Victorian Country Press Association in 2022.

Bruce was a trailblazer within the Victorian Country Press Association, having first served as an Executive Councillor in 1988, before becoming a member of the Promotions Committee in the early 1990s and then the inaugural chairman of the marketing committee from 1992. Bruce served as President of the Victorian Country Press Association from 1998 to 2000. Bruce also served as a director of the Country Press Co-operative Company for 13 years from 2003 to 2016.

In 2020, at the start of the pandemic, when the Victorian government asked the association how it could help, Bruce immediately came up with the idea of advertising support and advocated two pages per week across all VCPA member newspapers, which ultimately led to the current one-page commitment. More recently Bruce served as President of Country Press Australia from 2019 to 2021 after joining that Board in 2016.

Bruce led CPA during the organisation’s most significant period. He worked day, night and over weekends to help navigate CPA through the pandemic. He heavily advocated on behalf of members to the Federal Government and played a pivotal role in securing the $50 million PING fund and the release of $5 million from the Innovation Fund.

Bruce led the industry’s voice to the ACCC and then the Federal Government regarding the digital platforms enquiry and ultimately legislation.

Bruce was one of the architects of the deals Country Press Australia struck with online platforms Google and Meta as part of the News Media Bargaining Code negotiations, and also pushed for advertising from the Federal Government during the pandemic.

He appeared before a range of Federal Government committees looking into the future of newspapers, with some of those meetings requiring trips to Canberra, and he kept in regular contact with politicians on both sides in a bid to ensure our industry was well understood and supported.

Most recently Bruce joined the discussions and negotiations with the Minister for Communications which ultimately lead to the $15 million Regional and Local Newspaper Publishers Program.

Bruce remained an active, valued and respected Board Member of both CPA and the VCPA until his passing. His leadership, wisdom and willingness to dedicate his own time in the service of both CPA and VCPA are testament to his character and integrity.

Bruce and his family share a proud history as publishers of the Midland Express and Castlemaine Mail newspapers in central Victoria, as well as managing the Latrobe Valley Express and Gippsland Times. Bruce had enormous knowledge and passion for newspaper press sites and he had only recently proudly upgraded his press site, Express Print in Morwell.

His passion and belief in regional papers saw Bruce as a director and shareholder in the Today group that has brought new life to papers in communities across regional Queensland and South Australia. He was immensely proud of his role in bringing regional public interest journalism back to regional communities. He played a pivotal role in acquiring a press site in Rockhampton and growing and building that business. Bruce was also a generous sponsor and supporter of many industry events and functions.

Bruce was much loved by all his industry colleagues. His warmth, generosity, humility and appreciation for the efforts of those around him were characteristics that endeared him to everyone fortunate to know him.

Beyond his professional endeavours, Bruce was a devoted family man, deeply committed to his children, Ashleigh and Nick and spent most of his weekends when they were growing up following their passions of motorsport and horse show events.

Bruce loved summers water skiing with his family and friends in Echuca, had a massive passion with collecting cars and enjoyed trips overseas with his mates. Bruce was the instigator of the Latrobe and Sale Biggest Ever Blokes BBQ’s which raise money for prostate cancer. He loved these events for their fellowship and camaraderie.

We are deeply saddened at Bruce’s passing and offer our deepest sympathies and best wishes to his wife Chris, children Nick and Ashleigh and their families, including Bruce’s mother Dorothy.

Our sympathies also go to Bruce’s brothers Tim and Graeme and their respective families. A service will be held next Friday, 5 April at 1.30pm in Morwell to celebrate Bruce’s life.