William Henry Darwen launched The Bowen Independent on 13 June 1903. In 1909 he sold the newspaper to Bowen Newspaper Co. Ltd. but bought it back 3 months later. The Darwen family remained proprietors of the newspaper until 1985 when it was sold to the North Queensland Newspaper Company. Each of Darwen's seven sons worked for the Independent. Ron Darwen served as manager from 1931-1950 and Douglas James Darwen served as editor during the same period. In 1950, their brother, Henry William Darwen took over as managing editor. Claude Darwen served as printing manager from 1950, and Roy Darwen also worked as a printer for a period.
The Darwen family connection continued into the third generation, even after the sale of the family interest in the newspaper. Jim Darwen served as a linotype operator and photographer, while Bill Darwen worked as a compositor. Stephen Darwen took over as manager of the printing department from his cousin, Neil Carvolth, and later became manager of the newspaper.