One hundred key books on Australian printing history

 

Printing in Australia arrived with the First Fleet in 1788 when the British began to colonize the Australian continent. On board was an old wooden hand printing press and some miscellaneous type. A printer was found later. Printing then was still very much like the printing in the days of Gutenberg. Imagine you are going to establish a prison in a place so remote and terrifying that it must have seemed to them very much how we would see establishing a prison colony on Mars. What would such a settlement require? Food, medicine, clothing. And a printing press?!

 

Printing must have seemed an essential foundation for the good order and success of such a colony. Indispensable to a civil and ordered society. And while Australian printing history doesn’t have the length and the breadth of printing in Germany, the UK or even the US, printing in Australia is no less interesting as it is the history of the establishment, the development and growth, of printing in a remote colonial outpost. To the modern high-tech industry, it has become. 

 

Quite a lot of books and articles have been written about Australian printing history: the history of our printing, paper and type industries. Many of these works have been produced by small publishers or by the industry itself in small editions and so are hard if not impossible to find today. The list would be a very long one—even longer if you include all of the trade literature. So, the following is a personal selection of one hundred books which might be useful to anyone wanting to read up on what is no less a culture and art and a science and technology as it is a craft. One on which our modern Australian society is founded.

 

Jürgen Wegner, Librarian

2ndJuly, 2019

 

  • Arnold, John. The Fanfrolico Press : satyrs, fauns & fine books. Pinner, Middlesex : Private Libraries Association, 2009. 328 p. 

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  • The Australasian printers’ keepsake : a selection of tales, essays, sketches and verse illustrative of the craft in Australia/ by Victorian compositors. Melbourne : Edward Fitzgerald, 1885. viii, 168 p. N: Ferguson 6274. 

  • Australia. Government Printing Office.Golden jubilee : 50 years of government printing in Canberra. [Canberra : Commonwealth Govt. Printing Office], 1977. [ii, 66] p. N: Special issue of their house journal Print off, July 1977. 

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  • Australian Newsprint Mills. Newsprint from Australian hardwoods : a great new industry for Australia. [Boyer, Tas.]? : Australian Newsprint Mills, 1939. 13 p. 

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  • Australian Paper Company. Deed of settlement of the Australian Paper Company dated 1stJuly, 1864. Sydney : Printed by J. Degotardi, 1864. iii, 49 p. 

  • Australian Paper Manufacturers’ Maryvale Mill : a part of the Valley landscape for 50 years, 1937-1987 : a special ‘Latrobe Valley express’ supplement to commemorate the 50thanniversary of APM’s Maryvale Mill. [Morewell, Vic. : Latrobe Valley Express, 1987]. [12] p. (Latrobe Valley express; June 26, 1987. Supplement).

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  • Australian Society of Compositors. Rules and regulations of the Australian Society of Compositors : justice, firmness and moderation. Sydney : Printed by James Spilsbury, 1839. 8 p. N: First printed item relating to printing produced in Australia.

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  • Baily, Lois. Government printing in Tasmania : the first fifty years. Hobart : Dept. of Library and Information Service, Tasmanian College of Advanced Education, 1974. 1 v. N: Project report for her Graduate Diploma. 

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  • Benjamin, L.R. The manufacture of pulp and paper from Australian woods. Melbourne : Govt. Printer, 1923. xvi, 92 p. (Bulletin (Institute of Science and Industry (Australia)); no. 25). 

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  • Bloxham, Eric. Fifty years with Bloxham & Chambers. Sydney : Bloxham & Chambers, 1971. 92 p. N: Recollections put into words by Irvine Douglas.

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  • Borchardt, D.H. Australia. Amsterdam : Vanghent, 1969. 45 p. (The spread of printing. Eastern hemisphere).

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  • Brand, R.F. Printing techniques : a handbook on printing processes and allied crafts for the guidance of those engaged in this or associated industries. Adelaide : Printing and Allied Trades Employers Association of South Australia, 1936. xii, 217 p. N: One of Australia’s few printers’ manual.

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  • Brodsky, Isadore. The Sydney Press gang. Sydney : Old Sydney Free Press, 1974. 192 p. N: A popular history of Sydney newspapers.

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  • Bryans, Dennis. A survey of Australian typefounders’ specimens. Blackburn North, Vic. : Golden Point Press, 2014. x, 85 p.

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  • Campbell, Ronald G. The first ninety years : the printing house of Massina, Melbourne, 1859 to 1949. Melbourne : A. H. Massina & Co., [1949]. 165 p. 

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  • Central Technical College (Sydney, N.S.W.). Course of instruction for compositors/ conducted at the Central Technical College ; J.T. Lyons, lecturer-in-charge. [Sydney] : Technical Education Branch, Dept. of Education, New South Wales, [1934]? ca. 300 p. N: Printers’ manual in 35 parts; many versions and compilations of this were produced. 

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  • Churchett, James. One hundred years of the printing union in South Australia, 1874-1974. Netley, S.Aust. : Printed at the Griffin Press [for Printing and Kindred Industries Union, South Australian Branch, [1974]. 44 p. 

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  • Coupe, Sheena. W.C. Penfold, printer and stationer, 1830-1980. Kingsgrove, N.S.W. : W.C. Penfold & Co., 1980. 128 p. 

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  • Cruise Geeves Hindle & Associates. The Paper House : a natural development. Alexandria, N.S.W. : Paper House, 1984. [26] p. N: A history of Wiggins Teape UK and Wiggins Teape Australia, 1890-1984; the withdrawal of the latter leading to the formation of the Paper House. 

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  • Darragh, Thomas A. The establishment and development of engraving and lithography in Melbourne to the time of the Gold Rush. [Willow Bend, Thumb Creek, NSW] : Garravembi, 1990. 57 p. N: Limited numbered edition.

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  • Davis, Irvine. Printing : the career that beckons : an illustrated technical outline of the graphic arts industry. [Sydney] : Printing and Allied Trades Employers’ Federation of Australia, 1944. 64 p. N: Careers information.

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  • Degotardi, Johann Nepomuk. The art of printing in its various branches. Sydney : Published by J. Degotardi, 1861. 24 p. N: Australia’s first printers’ manual. 

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  • Dick, George. ‘Printed by authority’ : fifty years of government printing in Canberra. Australia : Australian Government Publishing Service, 1977. 29 p. 

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  • Dunn, Alfred C. The business that service built, 1882-1982 : [history of the Modern Printing Company Proprietary Limited : 100 years of progress 1882-1982]. Carlton South, Vic. : Modern Printing Co., 1984. 187 p.

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  • Eckersall, Kenneth Eric. Young Caxton : a history of aims in printing education in Melbourne, 1870-1970. North Melbourne : Melbourne College of Printing and Graphic Arts, 1980. 220 p. N: Based on his earlier thesis of 1977.

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  • F.T. Wimble & Co. Specimens : Australian type & borders cast on American point lining system. Sydney : F.T. Wimble & Co., 1939. 238 p. N: The ubiquitous blue Wimbles type specimen book; a great many versions were issued over a long period of time.

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  • Fairfax, J.F. The story of John Fairfax : commemorating the centenary of the Fairfax proprietary of the ‘Sydney morning herald’, 1841-1941/ illustrated by Adrian Feint. Sydney : John Fairfax & Sons, 1941. xix, 169 p. 

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  • Farmer, Geoffrey. The literature of Australian private presses and fine printing : a bibliography. 2nded. Sydney : Book Collectors’ Society of Australia, 1999. xiv, 94 p. (Australian bibliographies; no. 1).

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  • Farmer, Geoffrey. Private presses and Australia : with a check-list. Melbourne : Hawthorn Press, 1972. 68 p. N: A supplementary pamphlet was issued in 1976. 

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  • Ferguson, John Alexander; Foster, A.G., Mrs.; Green, H.M. The Howes and their press. Sydney : Sunnybrook Press, 1936. 100 p. N: Limited, numbered and signed private press book.

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  • Fischer, G.L. South Australia’s first printing press, 1837. Aldgate, S.A. : Pump Press, 1968. [4] p. (Pump Press pamphlet; 10). N: The press was a Stanhope; limited, numbered hand printed private press publication.

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  • Fisher, Rod. Boosting Brisbane : imprinting the colonial capital of Queensland. Salisbury, Qld. : Boolarong Press, 2009. vi, 298 p. N: An anthologic history of printing in Brisbane.

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  • Fitzgerald, R.T. The printers of Melbourne : the history of a union. Melbourne : Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1967. xvi, 173 p. N: Printing and Kindred Industries Union. 

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  • Fletcher, John. John Degotardi : printer, publisher and photographer. Sydney : Book Collectors’ Society of Australia, 1984. vii, 173 p. (Studies in Australian bibliography; no. 25). N: Degotardi (see #22 above) published Australia’s first printers’ manual in 1861. 

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  • Fryer, B.N. A book is built : more conversations with authors. [Melbourne? : Hawthorn Press?], 1953. xiii, 55 p. N: Printers’ manual.

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  • Fryer, B.N. New system Linotype operating handbook. Sydney : [B.N. Fryer], 1940. 178 p. 

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  • Gadsden, Jules. Gadsden : the first 100 years. [West Melbourne] : J. Gadsden Australia, 1980. iii, 169 p. N: Packaging. 

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  • Galton, Barry. The ‘Gold Coast bulletin’ : a history of a regional newspaper (1885-1985). Southport, [Qld.] : Gold Coast Publications, 1985. 117 p.

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  • Gartner, John. Victorian printing history. Melbourne : Printing Industry Craftsmen of Australia, 1935. 16 p. N: Fawkner’s common press and his early printing in the Colony of Victoria. 

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  • Gestetner Australia. 50 years Gestetner Australia.[Sydney : Gestetner Australia], 1977. [75] leaves. 

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  • H.T. Dunn & Co. The first century : H.T. Dunn & Co. Pty. Ltd., master printers since 1885. [Sydney : H.T. Dunn & Co., 1985]? 16 p. 

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  • Hagan, J. Printers and politics : a history of the Australian printing unions, 1850-1950. Canberra : Australian National University Press, 1966. xii, 386 p. 

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  • Hargreaves, W.A. An investigation into the prospects of establishing a papermaking industry in South Australia. Adelaide : South Australia, Dept. of Chemistry, 1916. 56 p. (Bulletin (South Australia, Dept. of Chemistry); no. 1).

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  • Hauser, Don. Printers of the streets and lanes of Melbourne (1837-1975). Melbourne : Nondescript Press, 2006. xi, 171 p. 

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  • Herrin, Stephen J. The development of printing in nineteenth-century Ballarat. Melbourne : Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand, 2000. 152 p. (Occasional publication (Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand); no. 7).

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  • The history of print in Australia : bicentennial supplement. [Prahran, Vic. : Peter Isaacson Publications, 1988]. 24 p. (Graphix. Supplement). 

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  • Howe, Gwen P.; Howe, George. From St. Kitts to Sydney : the story of the first colonial government printer. [Auckland? : Gwen P. Howe, 198-]. [53] leaves. 

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  • Humphreys, Fred C. From a rush hut— : a chronicle of the first 100 years of organisation of Master Printers and Allied Trades in South Australia, 1885-1985. [Adelaide] : Printing and Allied Trades Employers’ Federation of Australia, South Australian Region, 1985. xii, 180 p. 

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  • Hunt, Harold. The master printers of Sydney : the story of the Printing and Allied Trades Employers’ Association of New South Wales, 1887-1971. Sydney : Printing and Allied Trades Employers’ Association of New South Wales, 1976. xvi, 205 p. 

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  • Isaacs, Victor; Kirkpatrick, Rod; Russell, John (eds.). Australian newspaper history : a bibliography. 2nded. Andergrove, Mackay, Qld. : Australian Newspaper History Group, 2009. 504 p. 

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  • J. Fielding & Co. The first 50 years of J. Fielding & Co. Ltd. Sydney : Ian Pratt Publishing Company… for J. Fielding & Co. Ltd., 1955. 44 p. N:Packaging.

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  • Jacobsen, Kris. A land of promise : an account of Jacob Isaacs, Jewish convict, and Benjamin Isaacs, Christian printer and publisher. Canberra : [Kris Jacobsen], 2009. xiv, 188 p. 

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  • Jamieson, Allan. The Pulp : the rise and fall of an industry. Hobart : Forty Degrees South, 2011. xx, 316 p. N: A history of the Burnie Mill, 1936-2010. 

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  • Jeffrey, R.J. The Linotype : what it is. Melbourne : Working Men’s College, 1925. 88 p. (Linotype and intertype information; nos. 1-11). N: For the use of students in its Dept. of Printing. 

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  • John Fairfax & Sons. A century of journalism : the ‘Sydney morning herald’ and its record of Australian life. Sydney : John Fairfax & Sons, 1932. xii, 805 p.

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  • Kirkpatrick, Rod. Country conscience : a history of the New South Wales provincial press, 1841-1995. Canberra City : Infinite Harvest Publishing, 2000. xviii, 478 p. 

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  • Kirkpatrick, Rod. Sworn to no master : a history of the provincial press in Queensland to 1930. Toowoomba, Q[ld.] : Darling Downs Institute Press, 1984. x, 334 p. 

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  • Lawrence, Tess. “A whitebait and a bloody scone…” : an anecdotal history of APPM. Northcote, Vic. : Jezebel Press, 1986. 31 p. N: Fiftieth anniversary history of Associated Pulp and Paper Mills. 

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  • Lockwood, Douglas. A brief history of Regional Dailies of Australia Limited. [Sydney? : Regional Dailies of Australia], 1980. 72 p. 

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  • Lord, Peter. 125 years of the ‘Advertiser’. Adelaide : Advertiser Newspapers, 1983. 222 p. 

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  • McDonald, Lorna. Success through worthy service  : Andersons City Printing Works, 1903-2003. Rockhampton : City Printing Works, 2003. ix, 303 p. 

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  • Mallison, David Walker. Henry Lewis Bullen & the typographic library & museum of the American Typefounders Company. [United States : David Walker Mallison], 1976. iv, 320 leaves. N: D.L.S. thesis, Columbia University, 1976.

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  • Markby Group. 1870-1970 : the Markby Group : one hundred years of service to the graphic arts. [South Melbourne] : Markby Group, [1970]. [16] p. N: Reprinted from the Australasian printer, Aug. 1970. 

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  • Modern Printing Co. History of the Modern Printing Co. Pty. Ltd., 1882 to 1946 : with other notes of interest. [Melbourne : Modern Printing Co., 1946]. 18 p. 

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  • New South Wales. Laws, statutes, etc. New South Wales general standing orders selected from the general orders issued by former governors… Black Rock, Vic. History Books Australia, 1983. xii, 12, 122 p. N: Limited numbered facsimile edition of the first book printed in Australia: Sydney : Printed at the Government Press, 1802. 

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  • New South Wales. Government Printing Office. The Columbian press. Rev. [ed.]. Sydney : Government Printer, 1973. 19 p. N: Includes a world census of 92 Columbians. 

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  • New South Wales. Government Printing Office. The Government Printing Office, 1894. Sydney : Government Printer, 1895. 71 p. N: Ferguson 13209; a shorter version for 1890 was issued in 1891.

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  • New South Wales. Government Printing Office. Manual of procedure for the N.S.W. Government Printing Office. Sydney : Government Printer, 1947. v, 303 p. N: Printers’ manual. 

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  • New South Wales. Government Printing Office. New Government Printing Office, Sydney, New South Wales. [Sydney] : Government Printer, [1957]. 15 p. N: An overview of their purpose-built printery in Ultimo, Sydney. 

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  • Norman, Herbert. The development of the printing industry in Australia. [Melbourne : Herbert Norman], 1934. 20 p. Pitt, George H. The press in South Australia, 1836 to 1850. Adelaide : Wakefield Press, 1946. 60 p. N: Early newspapers.

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  • Queensland. Royal Commission Appointed to Enquire into the Control, Management and Working of the Government Printing Office. Report with minutes of evidence taken before the Royal Commission Appointed to Enquire into the Control, Management and Working of the Government Printing Office, together with proceedings of the Commission and appendices. Brisbane : Govt. Printer, 1899. xxxiv, 193 p. N: Also issued as part of Journal of the Legislative Council (with papers). 

  • Robb, Gwenda. George Howe : Australia’s first publisher. Kew, Vic. : Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2003. xv, 127 p. N: Printer of Australia’s first newspaper, the Sydney gazette.

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  • Rule, Andrew (ed.). Through the mill : a history of facts, figures, fancies and photographs to mark the centenary of the Broadford Mill, 1890-1990. [Melbourne]? : Floradale Publications for Australian Paper Manufacturers, [1990]. 144 p. 

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  • Russell, Gillian. The playbill and its people : Australia’s earliest printed document. Canberra : National Library of Australia, 2011. ix, 139 p. N: The playbill, Australia’s earliest surviving printed item, dates from July 30, 1796. 

  • Schnellpressenfabrik AG Heidelberg.Hints for the pressman : a summary of suggestions and advice on printing. Melbourne : Seligson & Clare (Aust.), [1966]. 119 p. N: Printers’ manual. 

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  • School of Applied Advertising (Sydney, N.S.W.). S.A.A. students’ paper sample book. [Sydney : School of Applied Advertising, early 1940s]. 1 v. N: Paper sample book containing 264 sample sheets; limited numbered edition. 

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  • Seligson and Clare Australia. Seligson and Clare 50 : a commemorative issue of ‘Selclarion’ for the 50thanniversary of Seligson & Clare in Australia. [Alexandria, N.S.W.] : Seligson and Clare Australia, [1975]. [12] p. 

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  • Senior, William. Distributing the type. Sydney : Brandywine Press & Archive, 1980. [19] p. N: Reprinted from The Australasian printers’ keepsake (1885); limited, numbered and signed private press publication. 

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  • Shenton, Henry. From the past to the present : being brief memoirs of the commercial printing industry of Perth, with brief mention of early and later day craftsmen who mingled in its progress and helped in events that brought about the formation of the present Master Printers’ and Allied Trades’ Association of Western Australia. Perth : Shenton Printing Co., 1957. 84 p. 

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  • Show-Ads Omega. History of Show-Ads. [Melbourne : Show-Ads Omega, 1986]. [32] p. N: Seventy year’s history of Omega Photo-Process Engravers and Show-Ads Art Photo-Engravers and Stereotypers. 

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  • Sidney Cooke Limited. Sidney Cooke Limited, 1872 [to] 1972. [Melbourne? : Sidney Cooke Limited, 1972]. [24] p. 

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  • Simmons, Ted. After the Rosetta stone : [W.J. Cryer & Co., 1903-1978 : 75]. [Dulwich Hill, N.S.W.] : W.J. Cryer & Co., 1978. [36] p. 

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  • Sinclair, E.K. The spreading tree : a history of APM and Amcor, 1844-1989. North Sydney : Allen & Unwin, 1990. xi, 278 p. N: Australian Paper Manufacturers.

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  • Spruson, J.J. History of Government Printing Office from memos by J.J. Spruson, 24 July, 1873. Sydney : Govt. Printer, 1915. 11 p. 

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  • Stein, Harry. From the Barn on the Hill to Edwards & Shaw, 1939-1983/ with a foreword by Jim McClelland and a post-script by Jurgen Wegner. [Sydney : State Library of New South Wales, 1996]. 80 p. N: Numbered limited edition. 

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  • Stone, Richard. Fragments of the everyday : a book of Australian ephemera. Canberra : National Library of Australia, 2005. xiv, 122 p. 

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  • Sydney Morning Herald. Chapel. Centenary souvenir, 1846-1946, Sydney Morning Herald Chapel. [Sydney : Sydney Morning Herald Chapel, 1946]. [34] p. 

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  • Taylor, Raymond G. 1887 [to] 1987 : William Brooks, the first 100 years. South Melbourne : Brooks Waterloo, 1986. 48 p. 

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  • Thorn, Benjamin. Keep the presses running : the Australian printing industry in the twentieth century. North Melbourne : Australian Scholarly, 2017. xvi, 308 p. 

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  • Tory, Bruce E. Offset lithography. Sydney : Horwitz Publications, [1957]. x, 331 p. N: Printers’ manual. 

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  • Tory, Bruce E. Photolithography. Sydney : Associated General Publications, 1953. 243 p. N: Printers’ manual. 

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  • Usher, Jim (ed.). The ‘Argus’ : life and death of a newspaper. North Melbourne : Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2007. 192 p.

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  • Victoria. Government Printing Office. One hundred years of service. Melbourne : Govt. Printer, [19]58. 25 p. (Parliamentary paper (Victoria. Parliament); 5260/58). 

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  • Vincent, M.G. The Vincent printers : an abridged account of three generations of printers and their newspapers. Campbelltown, N.S.W. : Ruse Publishing, 1980. 80 p. N: Limited edition. 

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  • W.C. Penfold & Co. A century of progress : the story of  W.C. Penfold & Co. Ltd. showing how the City of Sydney and the House of Penfold have been united in progress over a period of 100 years. Sydney : W.C. Penfold, [1930]. 89 p.

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  • Websdale Printing Group. 1889— and now another year of significant change. St Peters, N.S.W. : Websdale Printing, [1979]? [12] p. 

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  • Wimbles Ltd. The history of the House of Wimble in Australia : being the commemoration of the diamond jubilee of the establishment of the business of F.T. Wimble & Co. Limited in 1968. Sydney : Wimbles Ltd., 1928. [28] p. N: “Supplement to the diamond jubilee number of Wimbles reminder, May 4, 1928”. 

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  • Woodberry, Joan. Andrew Bent and the freedom of the press in Van Diemen’s Land. Hobart : Fullers Bookshop, Publishing Division, 1972. xxxiv, 174 p. N: Early newspaper publishing in Tasmania; limited numbered edition.

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  • Woods, L.J. Looking back : 66 years in the printing and newspaper industry, 1928-1994. Queanbeyan, NSW : Queanbeyan Age, 1995. P. N: Autobiography. 

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The purpose of the Penrith Museum of Printing is to collect, conserve, operate and showcase letterpress printing machinery and equipment so as to keep alive the history,knowledge and skills of letterpress printing for present and future generations.

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