Stateline ABC – The Golden Age

Queanbeyan Printing Museum

Queanbeyan’s “working” Printing Museum showcases a miniature of John Gale’s first newspaper The Golden Age (1860) being printed on a foot-pedal, hand fed small press that the John Gale family would have used as part of their commercial printing business – as well as other larger printing presses like the cumbersome ‘Chandler & Price, Hand Fed Platen Press’ c1900 and the Linotype Model 14, with its hot metal crucible, which was the heart of the publishing business.

These printing machines are  all demonstrated in working order at the Queanbeyan Museum, Farrer Place, Queanbeyan, to fascinate tourism visitors and locals in the art of printing in the 1800 & 1900s before the days of computers.

Golden Age newspaper 1860

Every Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 4pm at the Queanbeyan Printing Museum, just up from the Police Station, in Farrer Place (Canberra Avenue) you can watch one of the volunteers operate the big Linotype, Model 14 machine keyboard and type in the words for an article.

Then see the same machine select individual brass letters and put them together ready to manufacture into a line of lead printing type by pouring the hot molten lead against them and spitting them out as one line of lead type that forms one line of the column for the paper.

Finally the machine automatically picks up the individual brass letters again and takes them on a conveyer ride to the top of the machine and sorts them back into the cassette ready to be used again by the keyboard operator and so the process continues until all the lead metal type is ready to be transferred to a printing press and the paper printed.

ABC Stateline

Did you turn on the telly and watch Queanbeyan featured on the ABC’s Stateline program as Dr David Headon (pronounced Heedan) showcae Queanbeyan and incorporated it into part five of his six part journey focusing on the people and the politics from the 1880s in the lead up to Federation and the National Capital site nominations?

Dr Headon had featured Dalgety on Stateline and now it was Queanbeyan’s turn. Dr David Headon visited Queanbeyan with his two man ABC crew Tim Stevens (sound) and Mark Moore (camera) to make this wonderful segment.

Truly the 1800s were the fascinating Golden Age of printing in Australia and it is all here in Queanbeyan due to the dedication of Jim Woods and his merry band of men and women who make up the volunteer Printing Museum team.

Wait there’s more

John Gale – Father of Canberra large bronze sculpture on the Courthouse corner of Lowe and Monaro Streets are shown in this Stateline program as well as other unique buildings, photos and stories including Henry Parke’s visit to Queanbeyan in 1887 when he was harassed by the locals for interfering in local affairs.

John Gale’s daughter Annie Mercy Gale (who married Reginald  Fallick) owned her own newspaper, The Queanbeyan Observer, where she employed John Gale as editor, and from this position John Gale “sold” the Queanbeyan-Canberra site as the best site to build the Federal Capital to the Senators and Representative whom he took on tours of the capital.

Perhaps Queanbeyan can issue a challenge to all comers and have a public debate on this topic in the future but for now Queanbeyan is very grateful that Dr David Headon has graciously visited and showcased our unique city and its history including former Mayors Tompsitt and JJ Wright.

[Special thanks are extended to Queanbeyan City Council Cultural Services Manager Peter Conlon, who opened up the ‘Queanbeyan Historical Museum’ to showcase the Gale memorabilia and Jim Woods OAM (himself a former journalist, owner and director of The Queanbeyan Age for almost forty years) opened the ‘Queanbeyan Printing Museum’ and everyone spent a delightful morning looking at Queanbeyan’s heirlooms and talking about Queanbeyan’s history as the filming took place].


Footnotes / Resourse

1. “Stateline Canberra: The Battle of the Sites – Headon’s History ep 3. Broadcast: ABC TV 7.30 pm. Friday, September 26, 1908 –Reporter Dr David Headon.
2. Connee-Colleen, © “Queanbeyan Outlook (158): ABC-TV,” The Queanbeyan Age,  September 19, 2008, p. 26.

All content on Before Canberra Copyright © Connee-Colleen unless otherwise noted – apologies extended if inadvertently a copyright has not been acknowledged – please inform so this can be rectified.

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