“The History of Hansard”.

William Cobbett, Journalist who fought for the right to report on Parliament.
Hansard is the edited records of all parliamentary debates, votes, written ministerial statements and answers from Parliament in order that they might be easily accessed by any member of the public.
Member’s words are recorded by Hansard reporters and are edited to remove repetitions and obvious mistakes. The records and reports, however, must ensure that the members of Parliament leave ‘out nothing that adds to the meaning of the speech or illustrates the argument’.
The records of Hansard are protected. This freedom to print the words of Members without fear of libel was established in Britain in 1840, by the Parliament Papers Act (1840) which stipulated that all parliamentary publications were to be subject to the same legal protection as Members themselves.
This idea of parliamentary privilege, and the extent to which the proceedings of Parliament should be widely known, has undergone a revolution since Hansard’s inception at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Reports of debates before this time are difficult to locate or incomplete because of the contemporary belief that what was said inside the debating chambers should not be reported to the electorate or general population at large.
The belief was that Members would not act according to the best interests of the country, if they were under the pressure of public scrutiny.
The publication of anything said in the debating chambers was treated as a breach of parliamentary privilege and punished as such.
After the events of the English Civil War in the 1640s, and the increasingly influential role of propaganda, reports of parliamentary proceedings began to emerge as fictitious accounts of political clubs, such as the Report of the Senate of Lilliputia.
By 1771, and after extensive campaigning by the infamous John Wilkes, the suppression of parliamentary debates ended.
In that year, the then Lord Mayor of London, Brass Crosby, failed to stop the printing of details from the chamber.
He was called to report before the Houses of Parliament for his failure to stop what was an illegal publication, sent to the Tower of London, and put on trial. After a public outcry and a refusal on the part of the judges involved to try the Lord Mayor, Parliament ceased to punish those who published the proceedings of the Houses of Commons and Lords.
There followed numerous unofficial publications which documented the details of what Members said in the debating chambers. Initially William Cobbett proved to the most successful publisher of debates; he authored the History of Parliament from 1066 to 1802 and the Parliamentary Register, which saw the first concentrated effort to standardise the recording of debates.
(c) University of Southampton; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Photo (c) University of Southampton; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Cobbett granted the publishing rights of Debates to a publishing family company, run by Luke Hansard (See Above – Printer to the Government) and his three sons.
However, after being tried for seditious libel, Cobbett and one of Luke Hansard’s sons, Thomas Curson Hansard, were found guilty and imprisoned. Cobbett’s financial situation soon collapsed and he sold the rights to Debates to Thomas Curson Hansard.
Initially, the Hansard publications were created by gathering reports from various sources (including, for example, newspapers, diaries and letters). By the 1830s, the name ‘Hansard’ appeared on the title page of  It continued in this way throughout the nineteenth century.
This situation continued until 1909 when Britain decided – noting that many other countries, including Australia, Canada and the United States, had already standardised their records – to take control of the process of publication.
When the English Parliament initially assumed direct control of the publication, the name Hansard was removed as the publishing company was no longer to be involved.
This was changed in 1943, after the realisation that the name which had graced the title page for so long, and which had been copied in Canada and Australia, had not dropped out of usage and was the common, and popular, term for the documents.
Adapted from Parliamentary Discourse.

“The Intertype”.


The Intertype which was the British knock-off of Mergenthaler’s Linotype was the backbone of the Old Guv’s production of Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) over many years.

It was a hot metal slug casting machine with a keyboard set-up all of its own.

In other words no qwerty keyboard!

On a hot day working with these machines and their hot metal pots turned on could be rather unpleasant, not to mention the noise of the brass matrices (mats) dropping down in into the Assembly stick.

But overall, very reliable and for a period of time revolutionised the trade of printing along with the Linotype, Ludlow Typograph and Monotype keyboard and caster.

“The Tunnel.”


Did you know there was an old railway tunnel just near the Old Guv?

Well there was! As far as I know it was built in 1886 to service the old Exhibition Building and the Exhibition Oval near Kintore Avenue.

My grandfather Cyril used to tell me that there was a tunnel under King William Road which continued on from the Adelaide Railway Station under King William Road onto the Exhibition Oval.

They held the Royal Adelaide Show there in the late 19th Century

This of course was in the days before the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds were built at Wayville.



The Wayzgoose.


The Annual Wayzgoose held at Victor Harbor in 1890.
The Wayzgoose or Printer’s Picnic was celebrated at the Old Guv in King William Road for quite a number of years.
It was based on an old British custom where the men and boys (generally from the Composing Room) would gather once a year with their Master Printer for an excursion, dinner and a few ales.
They would travel in horse drawn drays to the country town of their choice or travel by steam train to places like Mount Barker, Willunga or Victor Harbor. It was a long day, generally not finishing until around 10 p.m.
They would gather in the local Pub for a slap up Dinner followed by speeches, readings and musical numbers performed by the tradesmen or boys.
The women or girls from the Office did not attend, until the late 1920s and it was never the same afterwards, so they say…
It slowly developed into the Office Picnic with races, events for the children and of course some boring speeches I have no doubt…


Stanhope Press lands in South Australia.

03_stanhope_press_98-97The first printing press which was landed with the Free Settlers of South Australia in late 1836 was a Stanhope (hand driven) Press, which was located in a crude tent occupied by the Thomas family on the North Bend of the “Paddywallunga” River at Glenelg.

The Stanhope Press was owned by Mr Robert Thomas and Mr George Stevenson, Secretary to Governor Hindmarsh, the State’s first Governor.

The Act of Proclamation and first Government Gazette had been printed in England some six months before the Settlers arrived. The Proclamation Ceremony was held at Glenelg in December, 1836.



The Captain of the ship that landed the Stanhope Press felt the metal type on board would make perfect ballast for his crossing of the treacherous Tasman Sea to Hobart.

A frustrated Robert Thomas was finally re-united with his precious cases of metal type some time after the first landing. In June, 1837, the second edition of the Government Gazette and Colonial Register was produced.

At that time the Printing Office had been moved to Hindley Street, Adelaide.


It’s Christmas…Again.


Those Mono blokes sure loved them Christmas Piss-Ups. But some present here don’t look as happy as they did in previous years.

But Why?

How about having a go at putting names to faces.

Photo Courtesy of the Korff Family.