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Help ASOOF preserve print’s heritage

Wednesday, 16 May 2018
By James Cryer

James Cryer with the Chandler & Price press at Direct Paper.

Between midday and 2pm last Tuesday, when most members of the printing industry were enjoying a long lunch or having a siesta – or doing whatever one does between these hours, a sturdy bunch of fieldworkers was diligently slaving away, assembling data, all for the ‘good of the cause’ – i.e., preserving the print heritage for future generations.

Drinks-waiter and print historian James Cryer was there, to report on proceedings.


Last week saw another meeting of the Australian Society of Old Friends, that group of mature-age citizens of the printing industry who are seeking to give back something to the industry which has served them so well.

Dedicated Print21 readers may recall that at a recent gathering (at Roseville Golf Club, back in July last year), amidst a furious flurry of Post-It Notes, this group embarked on an ambitious program to try and record for posterity all those printing companies who existed until recently, but who have passed out of existence – for one reason or another, over the past few decades.

They may have gone bust, closed voluntarily, merged or have been taken-over. But for whatever reason, they’ve disappeared from our collective memory and the colourful canvas that is our industry.

This is an important project as it seeks to resurrect and pay tribute to all those printing companies who employed hundreds if not thousands of flesh-and-blood staff – mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, sons and daughters, who all have stories to tell and memories to rekindle – all of which, sadly, are in danger of being lost. Unless we do something about it, which this initiative seeks to do.

Members of the Society of Old Friends (seen here hard at work, and many of whom would be known to readers) are committed to recording and remembering those who went before – and so last week the Old Friends met at the Graphic Arts club in Mascot, to put meat on the bones so to speak – by adding names of the owners and staff to those companies who have passed away recently, or over the past few decades.

For the benefit of readers, how many of these familiar faces gathered round the table can you identify? (Astute observers will note the vintage linotype machine in the background).

Hard at work: the stress can clearly be seen on the faces of these dedicated diehards as they struggle to remember what they had for breakfast, but are being asked to recall names of companies and colleagues going back decades. They need your help!

From right to left: Peter Hooke, Des Haines, Doug Churchill, Neil Mulveney, Phillip Anderson, Scott Telfer (Pres), Steve Kydd, Stephanus Peters, Peter Munro, John Burrell, John Stimson, Jim Richardson, David Konnecke, Tony Ashton and the drinks-waiter.

But be warned, being an ASOOF member is no piece of cake. It’s a serious business and a lot of hard work as you can see from the above photo.

Anyone interested in joining the Australian Society of Old Friends (ASOOF) or in simply contributing information regarding printing companies who have sadly passed away in recent years, please contact either myself (0408 291 508) or Scott Telfer (0413 382 528).


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