Culture and heritage


NSW Government Printing Office, c1890

This site on the corner of Bent and Phillip streets in Sydney's government quarter has been used by the Government Printing Office since at least 1840.

The large building shown above was at least the third on the site, and seems to incorporate the previous building within its structure (compare the corner doorway and cellar windows with the 1870s picture). This is the Printing Office that Gullick would have been familiar with, and which would have contained his office (probably on the 1st or 2nd floor) in which he considered and perhaps worked on the designs for the new NSW Coat of Arms, and for the postage stamps he produced that incorporated heraldic imagery into their designs.

The greatly increased size of the building compared to that of the 1870s illustrates the growth in the technologies for printing and the increasing specialisation of the functions of the Office. By the 1890s the Office was producing Hansard, the NSW Government Gazette, railway tickets, postage stamps and postal stationery, currency notes, the subscription series Historical Records of New South Wales, a vast photograph collection, and various high quality limited edition and commemorative publications (Concise Guide). Gullick, as Government Printer, worked with a Printing Office Board and was answerable to the Under Secretary for Finance & Trade. The architectural splendour of the building reflected the status of the Government Printing Office and its work. The Building was demolished in 1961 in preparation for construction of the State Office Block.

Some questions to research:

  1. What does the large expansion of the Government Printing Office building (compared to the 1870s photograph) suggest about the functions undertaken by the Office?
  2. What does the architecture of the building suggest about the status of the NSW Government Printer and of the technologies and quality of the printing carried out?

Image Source: State Library of NSW, GPO 1 - 08646 State Library of NSW, Picman

Page last updated: 01 September 2012