The Penrith Museum of Printing
Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm
or by arrangement.
Tour bookings will be taken
either on line or phone
contact us: 0408 412 708
On it's place in the museum
Historic Dorrigo Gazette Press Finds Permanent Home
The captivating journey of The Dorrigo Gazette Press, a relic of printing history spanning over eight decades and three continents, has reached its ultimate destination at the Penrith Museum of Printing. This extraordinary press, which originated in the renowned Heidelberg factory in Germany in 1939, has now settled into its retirement haven where it will continue to captivate and educate generations to come.
The press embarked on its storied voyage from the esteemed Heidelberg factory, where it was meticulously crafted with dedication and precision. Its production was briefly halted during World War II as the factory shifted its focus to support the war effort. Nevertheless, this remarkable 84-year-old artifact stands as a testament to an era steeped in rich history.
Following the war, the press found in 1951 a home at the Automatic Press in Port Pirie, South Australia. From 1971 onward, it embarked on a new chapter, relocating to Dorrigo and becoming an integral part of The Don Dorrigo Gazette. With unwavering commitment, it tirelessly produced every edition until June 30, 2023, marking the end of an era as the final letterpress-produced newspaper in Australia.
Starting August 18, 2023, The Dorrigo Gazette Press takes its place of honour at the Penrith Museum of Printing, nestled amidst a collection of esteemed historical printing wonders. This press now shares company with other operational presses, including the Columbian, responsible for printing the Carcoar Chronicle from 1872 to 1939, and the Wharfedale, which faithfully served The Nepean Times from 1882 to 1962. The Heidelberg “Zylinder” assumes its rightful place among these icons, a symbol of enduring craftsmanship. It's important to mention that these three printing presses produced their publications until they discontinued the newspaper and now continue to exist in the museum.
The Penrith Museum of Printing has undergone a transformative redesign, creating a seamless layout that invites visitors to embark on a journey through the evolution of printing from its inception in 1450 to the 1970s. The museum proudly showcases an impressive array of type cases, wooden type, Linotype/Intertype machines, Ludlow’s for headings, hand-operated presses, treadle presses, and powered presses. This collection stands as a living testament to the evolution of printing craftsmanship.
The arrival of The Dorrigo Gazette Press at the Penrith Museum of Printing not only signifies the end of a remarkable journey but also heralds the continuation of a legacy that honours the artistry and science of printing.
Penrith Museum of Printing Ushers in 2024 with Exciting Developments and a busy Calendar of Tours
The Penrith Museum of Printing has launched into 2024 with a flurry of activity, showcasing numerous enhancements and a bustling schedule of tour bookings. Our inaugural tour of the year, hosting over 30 guests from SydWest Multicultural Services, was a resounding success, complete with an interpreter to enhance the experience. The enthusiastic reception of this tour reflects the strong interest we've observed, with a significant number of tours already scheduled for the year.
We're thrilled to announce the return of our popular Poster, Typography, and Letterpress courses. For those interested in joining, we invite you to reach out to us to arrange dates that suit you. Last year's participants found these courses immensely satisfying, offering a unique, creative experience packed into a single day.
Our tours are a hands-on journey through history, led by our dedicated team members. Guests are immersed in the live process of letterpress printing, a revolutionary technique pioneered by Gutenberg. This method, which played a pivotal role in disseminating knowledge from the 1400s to the 1880s, remained largely unchanged for over 400 years until the advent of the Linotype machine in the 1880s. We proudly display and operate a Linotype machine, often hailed as the eighth wonder of the world, for our visitors to witness.
A highlight of our recent additions is the operational Heidelberg Cylinder, formerly of the Dorrigo Gazette, which printed Australia's last letterpress newspaper until 4 July 2023. Following extensive servicing, it's now a key feature of our tours, complete with the last printed pages it produced.
We've also revamped our layout for an enhanced visitor experience, including a new kitchen, fresh paint, and a new composing room type case cabinet, which is our next restoration project. These improvements, along with the Gayfield Shaw press displayed in our foyer, contribute to our mission of celebrating this incredible invention.
Our museum has been fortunate to display facsimiles of the Gutenberg Bibles and several rare books, with more to come this year. The support from the industry, through sponsorships and donations, has been instrumental in maintaining our status as Australia's largest living Print Museum. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to IVE Group, Penrith Paceway, and all our Gold, Silver and Bronze supporters.
Our fundraising efforts, particularly the Mycause campaign for the Dorrigo Press, have been tremendously successful, raising $5k in just two weeks. We owe a special thanks to everyone who contributed.
We're also focusing on engaging the younger generation, with increasing participation from high schools, Steiner schools, and home school groups. Our goal is to expand this demographic, emphasizing the importance of history.
Following last year's success, we plan to continue showcasing our 1890 Pearl letterpress and typesetting experience at various events, including Rare Book Week, Australia Day at the Arms of Australia held at Emu plains, STEAMfest in Portland, State Archives, and the Visual Impact Exhibition.
As our membership grows, we invite those interested in preserving this vital part of history to join us. Our commitment remains steadfast: to preserve the past for future generations to enjoy and learn from.
President, Penrith Museum of Printing.
The Penrith museum of printing is set to transport our 1890 Pearl Printing Press and type cases to the Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail on March 16th and 17th, located at the Bathurst Showground. This will offer visitors a unique chance to step back in history, allowing them to set their own names and print in the manner of the 1400s.
Registration for our Typography and Letterpress Printing courses in 2024 is now open, with updated dates! Secure your spot today:
- Typography Course: 24 February.
- Letterpress Printing Course: 25 February ( both 2 spots left)
Don't miss this unique opportunity to immerse yourself and master the ancient craft of letterpress printing. Our courses delve deep into the rich history of printing that dates back to 1450. Dive into the world of poster-making using authentic wooden types. Experience the meticulous process of setting words with individual metal letters, a technique preserved for over four centuries.
To avoid disappointment please send us a email or call for bookings, 0408 412 708 or
Your assistance is invaluable! Preserving this 1939 Heidelberg press poses challenges due to the vast geographical distances in Australia. Any pledges to back our cause would be immensely cherished.
Click here for the donation link
Click on the image above to hear the history of printing and our museum