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Archibald Gordon Maclaurin, English Migrant, 1928

Certificate - Machine Examination, First Class Pass, The Stationers' Company and Printing Industry Technical Board

Image: Certificate - Machine Examination, First Class Pass, The Stationers' Company and Printing Industry Technical Board

Source: Museum Victoria

Archibald Gordon Maclaurin (Mac) was born in 1904 in Westham London. He trained as a printer undertaking his apprenticeship with Thomas de la Rue of London, commencing on 9 October 1919 and successfully completing it on 11 October 1926. In 1927 he decided to seek work in Australia as there were few opportunities in England. That year he commenced negotiations with John Ash, the General Manager of the Commonwealth Bank Note Printing Branch in Fitzroy, who assisted Maclaurin in securing employment at McLaren & Co Pty Ltd Colour Printers in Fitzroy.

Maclaurin migrated to Australia on the 'Jervis Bay', departing London on 3 April 1928, travelling to Melbourne via Port Said, Colombo, Freemantle and Adelaide. He left behind his father and two sisters who were going to follow him after he was established, but his sisters both married and never came.

On arrival in Melbourne he began working at McLaren & Co Pty Ltd Colour Printers in Fitzroy where he remained for four years. He then moved to Spicers & Depmont Printers and Stationers before an opening came up for a machinist at the Note Printing Branch in January 1934. On 1 January 1934 Mac married Constance Duffell, who had migrated from England on the 'Narkunda' with her parents and brother in 1927. Constance's father and brother both worked for the Note Printing Branch which probably facilitated Archie and Connie's meeting. The couple had two children, Roger and Jocelyn, and lived all their lives in Essendon.

Mac worked at the Note Printing Branch for 32 years beginning as a letterpress printer, working the 3 colour miele machine. He then moved to the stamp perforating room and became manager of that floor which included the note finishing. Finally he returned to the first floor where he managed the stamp and letterpress work, where background colour was printed on the notes, and remained there until he retired in 1966.

In 1957 he took long service leave for 6 months, which included a trip to Germany where he assessed and purchased new machines (possibly numbering machines) for the Branch. It appears Mac worked extremely hard, and during his time managing the perforating and finishing floor he had some 200 'girls' under his supervision (he apparently often spoke of 'his girls'). In the years leading up to conversion to decimal currency in 1966, the Branch was busy and short staffed, even with increases to around 600 staff during that period. Mac worked lots of overtime during that period and was forced to retired due to ill health in 1966. He passed away in 1967 just as the family was planning a return trip to England.

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