Latest News

Age has not wearied them – LIA 50th Anniversary

Friday, 15 August 2014
By Patrick Howard
Tagged with:

In 1974 Warwick Roden and Kevin Thomas were two junior members of the inaugural committee of the LIA when it grew from the genesis of the Lithographic Club, founded in 1965, in Sydney. They were both speakers at the 50th Anniversary dinner in Silverwater.

If nostalgia was never as good as it used to be, then someone forgot to tell the doyens of the LIA last night as they regaled their peers with war stories of technology change and the characters who left their mark on the association over the past half-century. The jovial trip down memory lane brought together members and past members who greeted others not seen for many a long, while pausing to remember those who are no longer around.

A detailed graphic presentation from Warwick Roden based on the pages of Fred Stern’s Australian Lithographer magazine drew lots of smiles and make-believe incredulity from the audience. ‘Could it only be that far back?’

Prompted by the changeover from letterpress to offset printing in the 1960s the Lithographic Club was seminal in promulgating the benefits of the new technology. Quite as big a disruption as digital is today, lithography was the catalyst for 50 years of change that has altered almost everything.

From the introduction of the earliest 505 PANTONE colour formulas to a 1965 ‘computer’ on a programmable guillotine, the rapid growth of offset presses – from no Heidelberg presses in 1963 to 800 in 1972 – to the arrival of the earliest Macs and laser typesetting, the journey was illustrated with photos of faces from long ago peering out from the mono pages of the magazine.

Kevin Thomas revealed us with how he became the last lithography apprentice in NSW, and tales of high hilarity of legendary behaviour at conventions and exhibitions. John Warner recalled how printing company Offset Alpine went up in smoke – for the first time, not the notorious second.  Peter O’Hanlon spoke fondly of past friends and proposed the upstanding toast to all former members.

I will be honest, there were not too many young people in attendance and that’s indicative of many things, mostly that the world has moved on from the glory days of lithography. Many of those who were there are proprietors of their own graphic arts businesses and there was widespread agreement that the industry, despite its challenges, has been good to us all.

How the LIA will go for its 75th anniversary let alone its centenary is in the lap of the technology gods.


Picture 1 of 14

When owners meet; John Burrell, Total Print Control with Malcolm McDonald, Accuprint






Comment on this article

To receive notification of comments made to this article, you can also provide your email address below.