Fawkner's Press

Video Transcript

The printing press behind me is called the Fawkner Press. It was used to print Melbourne's first newspaper in 1838.The newspaper was published and printed by John Pascoe Fawkner, one of the early founders of Melbourne. Fawkner was a contradictory character - he was a teetotaller, yet he opened MelbourneÍs first hotel - he was capable of supporting the rights of the underdog, but on the other hand he could be underhand in his dealings with his competitors.

He actually produced the first newspaper by handwriting; the printed edition came later because the printing press hadnÍt arrived yet. We have displayed the press as if it was just about to be used to print the first printed edition. The type has been set to represent the first page, although the type weÍve used is of a later vintage. It was inked using leather balls, or a roller such as is displayed. The type was held in place with special clamps called quoins and it was set using pieces of wood called furniture.

I think the importance of this display is that it emphasises the unifying role that a newspaper has in the development of a new colony. It not only allowed people to get information about what was going on, it also allowed businessmen to advertise their wares, to exchange goods, and to announce forthcoming events.

About this Video

David Demant talks about a favourite object in the Melbourne Story exhibition, Fawkner Press
Length: 1:55