Culture and heritage


Officers of the Government Printing Office

The Government Printing Office was responsible not only for all the printing requirements of NSW government agencies, such as stationery, train and tram tickets, postage and excise stamps and bank notes, but several prestige productions that showed William Applegate Gullick's personal interests as well as the production skills of the Printing Office. Notable among these was the printing and distribution (on a subscription basis) of Historical Records of New South Wales (1893-1901), which for the first time made many of Australia's historical records available to historians and researchers, scientific publications such as The Echinoderm Fauna of Torres Strait (1921), as well as Hansard and the Government Gazette. The list also includes Gullick's own Australian Medals and Badges (1916), The NSW Coat of Arms (1907, reprinted 1921) and The Seals of NSW (1914, reprinted 1921). Gullick's experience at John Sands & Co had clearly influenced his subsequent work at the Government Printing Office, where he not only designed the NSW Coat of Arms, but was also responsible for many of the colony's postage stamp designs notable for their heraldic influences.

The staff of the Government Printing Office were well represented at Gullick's funeral in the Field of Mars Cemetery, and included the Superintendent, the Accountant, the Chief Overseer, as well as representatives of the Linotype Section, the Permanent Compositing Staff, and the temporary chapel. Others present included the representatives of John Sands & Co., the Country Press, the Government Printer of Papua, and the Public Service Board. Wreaths were noted from the various departments of the Government Printing Office and the printing trades unions. (SMH, 2/5/1922: 10).

Some sense of the respect with which Gullick and his officers were held can be gained from his obituaries:

"The country has sustained a tremendous loss by the death of Mr Gullick" said the [NSW] Treasurer (Mr A A C Cocks) last night. "I knew Mr Gullick personally. Besides his great qualifications as a printer, he was possessed of those attributes that everywhere win respect and esteem from decent men. He was a high type of commercial man, and he applied to his department a greater amount of business knowledge than if he had grown up in the Government service. His was the kind of service and ability that the State can ill afford to lose." (SMH, 29/4/1922: 12)

Some questions to research:

  1. Who were some of the other public officials and public offices involved in designing and using the public symbols of NSW?
  2. What can the working life of William Applegate Gullick tell us about the ideals and nature of public service in early 20th century NSW?


Image Source: State Library of NSW, GPO 1 - 12631 State Library of NSW, Picman

Page last updated: 01 September 2012