The 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.
Photo taken by famous photographer Frank Hurley in 1935.
The construction on the new Parliament House hasn’t started yet, so you have a clear view of the Government Printing Office (on the left and next to the park).
Photo from Keith Conlon’s 5AA Website
We could never understand why the Netley Complex was built in the 1970s as a Monument to the End of the Age of Hot Metal Printing Technology.
With the Greatest Revolution in Print since the time of Johannes Gutenberg just around the corner, why did the Government choose to install the largest parquet floor in the Southern Hemisphere (see below). It started cracking up in just a few months.
Why was the last Double Demy Miehle Press in the World purchased as an equipment update and how come we had windows that you needed a step ladder to see out of.
And then there was the floating roof and so on….
There are some clues, late in 1964 the Master Printers Association (employers group) met with then Premier Sir Thomas Playford and sought assurances that no new equipment would be bought for the new Government Printing Office.
The reason being they were fearful that any advances in technology could see the commercial printers in Adelaide lose Government work. Evidently, the Liberal Country League Government agreed to give those assurances.
They achieved their aim with such success that the Old Guv was gone in the space of just over 20 years.
The first Printing Press in the Colony was landed at Holdfast Bay on 8th November, 1836, from the barque “Africaine”.
The Press was offloaded on to the Beach just South of the Patawalonga mouth.
The Stanhope was a Demy Press invented by Earl Stanhope at the beginning of the 19th Century and superseded the wooden presses in use at that time.
With two competent operators it could produce 250 page impressions in one hour.
I was cleaning out my cupboards at home the other day and lo and behold I found some old photos under a mountain of ink and high quality paper that seems to have found a home at my place.
The photo is of the Old Guv Printing Nightshift at Netley
The bloke furthest away in the photo is a lovely bloke Craig (The Bikie) Dunk who lives in Queensland now I believe.
To the right of the photo is Ian (Titch) Nattrass holding the cup.
The Printer holding the sheet is me (David Walker) pretending I know what I’m doing (as always).
I don’t know what happened to Titch Nattrass after he took the first Package.
If someone out there knows the whereabouts of Ian can you let me know because I would like to catch up with him if I could.