Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gotta love a parade

a static printing press!

The Australian Colonies Bill granting independent colonial status to Port Phillip passed through the British House of Commons on 1 August 1850. When word reached the District some ten weeks later there was great public rejoicing--even more than when [it became the] colony of Victoria ... on 1 July the following year.


Four days of festivities in the city followed, culminating in a huge street procession ... in which the printers and newspaper men of Melbourne played a prominent part. They were jubilant at the outcome, which the press had been urging for a decade.

Led by John Fawkner and displaying a silk banner with a portrait of the founder of printing, Johann Gutenberg, the group accompanied a horse-drawn wagon bearing a printing press that was being put to work producing a celebratory leaflet ('sheets worked off and sent flying').

[Elizabeth Morrison: Engines of Influence: Newspapers of Country Victoria, 1840-1890 (Melbourne: MUP, 2005), p.68]

Found this this morning and it just sparked my imagination. I tried to find a more suitable image of a moving press, but I don't think people did this sort of stunt very often. I have no idea what kind of printing press they were using, but the thought of printing leaflets whilst on the back of a horse-drawn wagon without losing your fingertips makes my spine tingle! Australians sure know how to party.

Cross-posted at Sarsaparilla

Postscript: thanks to the marvellous work of Russ at Sarsaparilla, we have this image of the marvellous occasion:


worldpeace and a speedboat said...

a really nice friend gave me a little silk-screen set up in a box that she bought at an auction, and then felt guilty about. it's FAB. it's about double foolscap sized, which a nice solid handle. inside the box is an old rubber roller, and the screen on a hinge which is built into the box. it's in storage at the moment so I can't give you more details. she was told it was for travelling salesmen in the 20's, I think.

of course, your party dudes would have been using some sort of flat bed affair, not a screen print set up. I wonder what it looked like?

Ampersand Duck said...

Probably pretty similar to the one pictures, or maybe a platen press. It was around this time they were starting to change to steam-driven presses! The mind boggles.