Rockhampton print house honoured with Queensland business history award

Fourth-generation family business City Printing Works received the 2017 Queensland Business History Award at tonight’s Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame induction dinner.

City Printing Works was established in 1903 by Andrew (Lofty) Anderson after he arrived in Rockhampton with his family and a second-hand printing press in tow.

The company produced The Critic, a weekly social justice paper covering politics and sport, sold around Rockhampton and Mount Morgan for a penny.

With an initial print run of 2,500 copies, production expanded rapidly before the Great Depression forced the paper’s closure in 1931.

However, the company’s printing division endured, with the Andersons adapting the focus of their business to include a variety of printed material for the local community including tags for the local butchers, cake labels, and stickers for soft drink bottles.

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald commended City Printing Works for its outstanding efforts over the years to preserve and make available its business history and artefacts.

“The Queensland Business History Award, part of the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame, recognises leadership in collecting, preserving and sharing corporate history and heritage collections,” Ms McDonald said.

Ms McDonald said that the Anderson family kept samples of their work over decades, which ensured historical items and business records have been archived and preserved.

“City Printing Works’ collection of printed material has been carefully stored, or is displayed in glass cabinets or frames in its modern-day office, which has not only has meant these heritage items have stood the test of time, but they are available for people today to view and learn from,” Ms McDonald said.

“And because City Printing Works has remained an Anderson family business since 1903, a lot of inherited knowledge and stories have been passed through the generations.”

An extensive collection of historical items and documents from City Printing Works are housed at the Rockhampton Heritage Village in a purpose-built print house replica, including hot metal typesetting machines and presses (a Miehle Vertical (1933), a Thompson Platen and a Heidelberg Platen), cardboard tags, labels, pamphlets, stickers, newsletters, posters and more.

City Printing Works also shares examples of historical work through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and its website.

Ms McDonald said State Library of Queensland, as a state collector of Queensland’s history, valued the significant contribution City Printing Works has made to preserving local stories.

“These items have a lot of character — whether it’s a label that was printed for the local butcher, or a theatre program — and paint a picture of Rockhampton’s community and history over a more than one hundred year period, capturing fascinating memories and stories that help us understand what life has been like,” Ms McDonald said.

“State Library is committed to preserving Queensland’s memory and ensuring it is accessible now and for generations to come, and City Printing Works has done a remarkable job of adding their piece to Queensland’s collective story.”

Founded in 2009 by State Library of Queensland, Queensland Library Foundation and QUT Business School, the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame recognises the significant contributions by leading businesses and individuals to Queensland’s economic and social development.

For more information on the award and the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame, visit

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