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2018 news wrap: Gone but not forgotten

Friday, 21 December 2018
By Wayne Robinson

A million stories: Norman J Field with partner Elly Wilson

The year ended with some notable names no longer in the print industry; printers, vendors, and individuals.

Among the more heart warming is Norman J Field, just retired at the age of 86 after more than six decades in print. He was latterly working at Eastern Press. Also retiring was Graeme Young, the general manager at Perth’s Quality Press, after 40 years in the industry. Well known industry identity Karen Goldsmith, general manager at the suppliers association and a leading light in Women in Print movement, moved to pastures new.

Sadly there were those who made their way to the great printworks in the sky, among them print pioneer Cliff Royle, Peter Tailby, founder of Graphic Art Mart, and Paul Taylor, managing director of supplier PES for the past 41 years, surely a record amount of time in the top seat. Tragically two maintenance workers at Norske Skog in Albury Wodonga lost their lives due to escaping gases. It was also goodbye to Ipex, the once iconic UK trade show beloved by Aussie printers.

Disastrous move to London: Ipex will be no more

Print companies that went during the year included those that were bought by others, with some of the big names of print such as John Ferguson and Bob Gardner no longer active in the industry. Great names are gone such as Fergies in Brisbane, now part of Printcraft, and SOS in Sydney, now part of Pegasus.

Green and Gold is now part of Special T, Enviro Print is now part of Bright, Label Magic is now part of QLM, Qld Trade is now part of LEP, Westend is now part of Westman, Ragi Packaging and Printing Department are now both part of Focus, Lindall & Wall is now part of Imagination Graphics, and Future Sources is now part of D&D Mailing

Printers hitting the skids included Gopher (for the second time), the Print Studio, Purple Press, Goode Continuous, Panther Print, Posh Print, Print Supply, STS, Trojan Press, Saunders, and Graphic Impressions.

On the supply side Goss became part of manroland, which now claims 100 per cent of the heatsetweb market outside Japan. MBO became part of Heidelberg, Plockmatic bought Watkiss, Muller Martini bought Kolbus, while here in Australia Bottcher bought out Brissett, Avon Graphics bought Rotoflex Coatings, and Starleaton bought Uniscreen.

Consolidation: outdoor media

Consolidation was the story of the year in outdoor media, with the top four infrastructure suppliers becoming the top two, JC Decaux buying APN Outdoor and oOh! Media taking over Adshel. Across the Tasman Media Works took over the QMS Kiwi operations.

Consolidation was also seen in industry associations, with Two Sides, the Australian Catalogue Association and Australia Paper Industry Association no more, as they merged to form Real Media Collective, with Kellie Northwood at its hub.

Turmoil continued in the newspaper world as the world turned digital, Fairfax and News came to a print sharing arrangement, or rather Fairfax asked News if it could use its presses so it could close some of its own, and later in the year Fairfax was sold to commercial TV outfit Channel 9. Contract newspaper printer Horton pulled out of Aus altogether, claiming it is uncompetitive. And in a sign of the newspaper times GX Press, Peter Coleman’s newspaper trade magazine, produced its final print edition.

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