On this day, 14th December 1840, the first Government Printer was appointed in Australia.
In the early years of British settlement in Australia, all government notices were printed on a portable wooden and iron printing press that had come with the First Fleet in 1788.
In November 1840, Governor Gipps announced plans to establish a printing office which would be “under the exclusive orders and control of the Government”. The Government Printing Office was established, and John Kitchen was appointed as Government Printer on 14 December 1840. Kitchen’s staff included two free men as assistant printers, while another twenty convict men and boys became production staff.
Over the next decades, the Government Printing Office was responsible for printing official government documents, including parliamentary debates (Hansard), as well as postage stamps and railway tickets. Its services also included bookbinding, Photo-lithographic and lithographic and Photo-mechanical printing. The Government Printing Office remained in operation until it was finally abolished in July 1989.
These photographs are from the State Library of New South Wales collections.