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Post-It notes to the rescue of print heritage

Thursday, 01 June 2017
By James Cryer

In a subliminal nod to the power of print (or maybe that should really be paper!) Post-It notes were flying thick and fast last Tuesday evening.

James Cryer, founder of JDA Print Recruitment.

In case you missed it, this was a meeting of the Australian chapter of the Society of Old Friends – the local branch of an organisation set up in England a century ago to foster and encourage fellowship among members of the printing industry.

While membership has traditionally been by the ‘tap on the shoulder,’ the Sydney branch is now throwing open membership to anyone of good intent who is interested in contributing in some way to preserving our valuable heritage.

And so it was, at the Roseville Golf Club that memories were tickled, brains were stormed and mental cobwebs banished (at least momentarily) as attendees were issued with a stack of Post-It notes. The mood turned tense as we heard the ‘click’ of locked doors and armed guards advised us that ”Nobody leaves the room until you’ve completed this assignment!”

With that kind of motivation, how could we fail!

The Society of Old Friends meeting

The ‘assignment’, in this case, was for all members present to collectively recall all those printing companies that have been and gone over the last 40-odd years (ever since the seminal work “The Master Printers of Sydney” was published, back in 1972).

And so it was that with pens twirling like spinning-tops and Post-It notes flying through the air like paper-planes (deftly aimed at several white-boards provided for the occasion), the collective brains trust of 19 doyens of our industry, were able to come up with nearly 250 names of printing companies that have ‘been and gone’ or arisen since 1972.

Posting it at the Society of Old Friends meeting

Under Scott Telfer’s careful gaze, Post-It notes were carefully removed and placed in alphabetical sequence for the next step, which is to toss this list onto a platform like Wikipedia and throw it open to our industry at large, so members can collectively add their snippets of information – including details about the proprietors, company locations, type of printing (offset, forms, cartons, etc.) and anything else of value to help build a meaningful database.

It was a great night, proving yet again the power of print over electronic devices. Anyone who is interested to join the Sydney-based Society of Old Friends please contact me (0408 291 508) or Scott Telfer at Blue Star.

May I also give a plug to the Penrith Print Museum (several members of which attended our function) which is currently undergoing a massive refurbishment, but which in a few months will be looking forward to reopening. If you’d like to become a member visit: or ask for Stephan Peters on 0416 374 477.

James Cryer – ably assisted on the night by Scott Telfer and Peter O’Hanlon.


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