Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Old Government Printery, William St

It's worth reflecting on how much printing has to be done by a government. For a start, the day-to-day business of the parliament has to be recorded and preserved; then you have the publication of the resulting legislation; not to mention the various statutes, gazettes and the numerous other publications that emanate from government. The colony of Queensland opened its first printing office in 1862 - it was a two-storey timber building in William St, right across the road from the Commissariat Store, and seen below in this image from around 1869.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #61128)

Predictably, that original building was outgrown as the colony itself grew, and it was replaced by a brick building in 1874. The new building was designed by the Colonial Architect, Mr FDG Stanley, and is pictured below in 1983.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #61417)

The extent of the Printing Office can be gleaned from the photographic records at the John Oxley Library - too many to reproduce in this blog. There is a series of pictures taken in 1921 that show: the monotype department, the lithograph department, the composing department, the binding department, the letterpress department and the linotype department. I think that we can assume that the Printing Office was a significant employer. And it probably still is, as the Printing Office relocated to new premises in 1984, after 120 years at this location. But the building that Stanley designed remains, and here it is today.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

It is now the Public Service Club, a place for today's government employees to relax after a hard day's yakka at the coal-face of public service.

Click here for a Google Map.


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