Friday, 1 April 2016

Printing - The World of Early NZ Companies, Presses, Newspapers Books and other printed matter

 Display on Early Printing in NZ , Cromwell Heritage Precinct.  One of those wonderful early Printing Presses .Photo courtesy Chris Ball 2016

Packing a pile of books, to fit only a 23 kg weight suitcase, for the return flight from Canterbury/ Otago New Zealand. Maybe should not have bought so many from those wonderful book shops down South? Maybe  should have ditched them and opted for a lighter suitcase of clothes?

This led me to further thoughts   on the return home, especially looking at photographs of those wonderful old printing presses in the  Museums and Art Galleries. Yes books, paper, newspapers and printing, have certainly been an integral part of my life, including inhabiting libraries. My father used to have some great sayings that he ensured were passed down in my learning vocabulary - " The power of the press is mightier than the sword" and " Anything you want to learn, can be found in a book."  With parents' profuse readers, mother a newspaper correspondent , a godmother who was a very keen librarian and  contact with business owners who read the daily newspapers literally from cover to cover, it was live in a world of books and the written word.
Michael O'Brien's Book Printery, Oamaru Heritage Precinct 2016- one of those places where a wonderful old trade of Book Binding is plied  photo courstesy Chris Ball
Further thoughts about how family members fared coming to New Zealand, way back then, for books were a favorite. My mother introduced me to one of the favorites she grew up with - " Norah of Billabong."  Became totally caught up in the stories about sheep station life in outback Australia, written by  Mary Grant Bruce. ( Now why could not my father have had sheep instead of cows on his Waikato farm? ) My father introduced me to those  early books of New Zealand History - books with drawings of New Zealand Native plants or birds, tales of those early New Zealand explorers - Buller, Kirk, Colenso, Williams.

Thought about how my family - great grand - parents fared when they journeyed afar from " the old country" - even the six times great grandparent back in 1788, as a Marine  to Australia. Same with the great- great aunts and uncles. Back then, just as now books were expensive - and just as me being limited for weight and room on an air flight, they would have been limited  with  their luggage for onboard a ship. Some later arrived family members were to set up bookshops and stationers - goodness knows what  freight and cargo costs would have been back then.
Newspapers, books and handwritten letters were awaited for by this "new wave of settlers " to the colonies, in a sparsely settled land.  These via the sailing ships berthing at the few Ports.  Reading log books or shipping news of the arrival of those early sailing vessels of  Henderson and Macfarlane to Ports, noted was the popular arrival of newspapers. For these, the Henderson and ;  Macfarlane Circular Saw Line became renown.
Clipper Wild Deer in  Lubbock, B. (1921). The Colonial Clippers. Glasgow: James Brown & Son (Glasgow) Ltd, Publishers

 It was the ships and newspapers that bought news of gold discoveries in San Francisco in the America's , Victoria in Australia, Coromandel, Thames, Gabriel's Gully in New Zealand , news of railway construction.
One of the first New Zealand Gazettes was said to have been printed in 1840 by William Colenso. Newspaper owners Henry Brett and William Wilkinson started their journalism career as rival shipping reporters in the early 1860s.
Printing Press and Timaru Herald exhibition at South Canterbury Museum 2016 Timaru Herald was founded  in 1864 by founded by Alfred George Horton and Ingram Shrimpton. Horton went on to a partnership with William Wilkinson of the Thames Adverstiser in 1874. Photo courtesy Chris Ball

Rev William Colenso F.R.S

 Maori of Paihia, Bay of Islands in 1835, saw Anglican Missionary, William Colenso, arriving and setting up one of the first printing presses - a Stanhope press. Having a printing press ,enabled religious passages and exerpts from the Bible to be available for his missionary work. ( No doubt the use enhanced by Colenso's knowledge and skills in printing ) 
One of the forerunners of  public New Zealand notices dated 4 May 1836, was printed at the press for the Church Missionary Society - notice of a Temperance Meeting at Kororareka. However printing did  not become a speedier process until the arrival in 1842, of a Columbian Printing Press.   No wonder that Colenso having served an apprenticeship in the printing business and later working for Watt who was printer for the Church Missionary Society in England, took up printing as part of missionary work in New Zealand. ( think this is where my father's idea of "the pen being mightier than the sword ' originated from) Colenso in later years took a keener interest in natural history  and other topics.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19250402-49-1
courtesy Auckland Libraries Heritage Images
In later years after Colenso's death in 1899,  a photo appeared in a weekly news  of a printing press.  The Auckland Weekly News Supplement of 2 April 1925 carried a photograph of what was said to be the oldest Printing Press inn New Zealand and said also to be then owned by a Mr. Barker of Coromandel. Other than the photo nothing further to date has been found on this press. However it gives a picture of what those early printing presses were like.
 However it is known that a number of printers and publishers had links with Coromandel town and area. Coromandel was  a place where William Gorrie of Upton & Company ( Booksellers, Printers and Stationers ) had had goldmining interests, and with a family member- Morton Gorrie  -  farming and playing a role in the community, during the first decades of the 1900's.

New Zealand Institute  - Rev. Colenso F.R.S and others:


 William Colenso, a member of the NZ Institute (  now the Royal Society ), Hawkes Bay Philosophical Society Branch , wrote prolifically.  Many of his of his papers can be read online on the NZ National Library Site ,Transactions & Proceedings Royal Society 1868 - 1961. His paper read to the Hawkes Bay Philosophical Society Branch in 1877 explored the date Captain Cook took formal possession of New Zealand. Colenso concluded it was 10th or 9th of October, 1769, at Poverty Bay, and not on the 15th of November following, at Mercury Bay . Colenso, W 1877) 
 The New Zealand Society was established in 1867. Publishing was expensive in those days and one of the reasons for establishment was to enable papers presented by members to be published through the annual volume - Transactions and Proceedings. Stewart ( my GGF)  of the Auckland Institute who apart from a short break over the years until death in 1914, remained a member, on council of the Auckland Institute, President two terms and also from 1906 on the Board of Governors  of the New Zealand Institute. During those years Stewart wrote  sixteen published  papers - not as prolific as Colenso - however useful topics.
Several other printers were  also active members of the Auckland Institute, amongst them John Henry Upton and William Gorrie ( of Upton & Co.   along with Robert Leslie  Stewart of Brown & Stewart ( Wholesale Manufacturing Stationers and Paper Merchants) William Forsyth Stewart and  Hugh Whitcombe ( Whitcombe &  Tombs ) . Although none of these four  are recorded as authors of papers, W Gorrie was recorded as  Auditor for the Auckland Institute for a number of years until the year of his death in 1911. J. H Upton was recorded as member and on council of the Auckland Institute for a number of years, and president  1894 and  1911.
 The Library of the Thames School of Mines and Waihi School of Mines  were recorded as  recipients of the  annual volumes presented by the Governors of the New Zealand Institute. No doubt many of the papers would have been useful to the students studying at the School of Mines. Copies of the Transactions and Proceedings were distributed to Institutions throughout the world.
Book - Cromwell Heritage Precinct

Carruth, Gorrie and Morton - early pioneer settlers in the North

Back in 1839, there was one William Carruth,  a newly arrived immigrant to Kamo, near Whangarei and brother of John Carruth  who married my great grand aunt, also a settler in the area initially. William Carruth  kept a hand written diary. Today we are able to read excerpts in various modern history books, from that diary , which were written in the down to earth manner of this Scottish born Renfrewshire man. Gives us a good account of what things were like then and good to see the written word of 176 years ago retained today.
In the 1860's.  Sophie Wall, was to become wife of William Brown Upton, who set up one of the first booksellers and stationers in Auckland. Sophie Wall was grandaughter of  William Gorrie Snr. , who also settled in Whangarei area in 1840 and whose second wife Mary was sister of John Carruth's wife - both nee Morton.  Mary Gorrie (nee Morton) was to see her son William Gorrie Jnr. and son - in-law John Henry Upton heading the longstanding firm of Upton and Co - Booksellers, Stationers and Printers.
Upton &  Co Auckland, New Zealand - from family photo collection

Upton and Co - Booksellers,  Music Sellers,  Printers & Stationers

William Brown Upton arrived at Port of Auckland,  a passenger aboard the ship Evening Star in 1858. By the beginning months of 1865 Upton and  Co  were advertising a move to new premises in Queen Street ( three doors below the Brunswick Hall ) All manner of stock was advertised - books, music , stationery and including among the books, a selection from Bohn's Standard, Scientific, and Illustrated Libraries. Helpful to trade, schools and teachers,  would have been the discount offered.
William Brown Upton died suddenly in 1870. His brother John Henry Upton was joined in partnership by his brother - in-law William Gorrie jnr. whose family were early settlers to New Zealand in 1840 - William having been born on arrival at Kororareka ( Russell ).  Upton and  Co continued to sell books

Approval was read to the Thames Borough Council in 1880, from the Board of  Education for purchase of a list of books for the Thames Free Library ( handed to Upton and Co). This would have been the first official free library established in the goldfields town of Thames. Also found in papers past that Julius Vogel sent " a contribution of books, pamphlets, etc to the Thames Free Library, paying all charges to the Thames for them"

As with Upton and Gorrie,  many of the gentlemen from Auckland were involved in some way with the goldfields and supported community activities such as libraries. In 1905 the old Thames Library was removed to make way for a new Carnegie Library, gifted by iron and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. ( Wonder if any of his steel went into printing press manufacture? )
Upton and Co also gained a reputation for their interesting window displays .
  • In 1865 an escritoire made from various woods  by A Seuffert for the Dunedin Exhibition.
  • In 1871 two  vases  one presented by  Messrs Shaw, Saville and Co. to the Auckland Regatta Club; and the other given by Capt Shera, for competition by the Auckland Troop of Cavalry Volunteers. ( Auckland Star, 22/12/1871p2)
  • An illuminated address presented to Sir William Martin.
  •  Paintings of  watercolourist  John Barr Clarke Hoyte.
A number of books were published by Upton and Co over the fifty years of business. Amongst them that, one in 1892 by Williams, Archdeacon of Waipu. (Hocken, T.M. 1909)
William Gorrie died in 1911 . John Henry Upton retired, handing over the reins to his two sons Parker Taker Upton and Selwyn Upton. On  16 December 1916 (  during the war years) the Auckland Star reported on  the  changing of hands  of Messrs Upton and Co.  by  publishers and booksellers, Messrs Whitcombe and Tombs. Thus ended over fifty years of business as Booksellers, Music Sellers, Publisher and Stationer for Upton and Co .
As to the Upton and  Co business property on the corner of Queen and Durham streets - Whitcombe & Tombs had new plans of building modernisation - a new era.
Parker Tasker Upton  moved into an engineering firm partnership which morphed into  firm ownership. Brother Selwyn Upton became commercial manager of the Brett Printing and Publishing Company until he filled the vacant post of secretary to the Auckland Gas Company  ( previous a position held by William Forsyth Stewart, who, in 1929 went to Sydney to join the firm of Dymock and Company as secretary and director - a shortlived term due to death in 1931.)
Printing machinery Cromwell Heritage Precinct 2016 - photo courtesy Chris Ball

 Whitcombe and  Tombs Booksellers and Publishers

From  a small shop in Market Square, George Hawkes Whitcombe, morphed into a partnership with George Tombs - Whitcombe & Tombs. The Company  grew and moved to Cashel Street, Christchurch. Following retirement of Tombs ,  a Limited Liability Company was formed and growth continued. When  Upton and Co changed hands to Whitcombe & Tombs, Bertie Ernest Hawkes Whitcombe was general manager and in 1916, then based in London. He had married Fanny Allingham Morrow, from Christchurch New Zealand, and was running a publishing house  St. Andrew's Hill, London.
Bertie's  sister -in law Arabella Colquhoun Vickerman ( nee Morrow) had also joined them . Arabella's husband, Hugh an Engineer, was with the New Zealand Tunnelling Company and had been posted to France. Hugh was son of Charles Vickerman, also an engineer who had had a role with Waihi Railway, in his  capacity as District Engineer Public Works Department . Hugh's uncle was  Alfred Vickerman - married to Elizabeth Charlotte ( nee Gorrie - niece of William Gorrie Jnr.)  Bertie Whitcombe was no stranger to WW1 having  four brothers on active service.
Following the war, Whitcombe and Tombes were chosen publishers for a number of New Zealand campaign and unit histories of WW1 - including that of  The New Zealand Tunnelling Company, 1915-1919 by  Neill, J. C. as editor. A number of tunnellers from the Coromandel Peninsula had carried out active service during WW1. Also published by Whitcombe and Tombs, was,  "Countess of Liverpool Gift Book."   to aid  patriotic funds, and latterly, a record of the New Zealand hospital ships.
From 1911 to 1931 Whitcombe and Tombs also became well known for educational publishing, amongst them the famous Pacific Reader.
 Bertie Whitcombe died in 1963, ending another era of booksellers and publishing companies  In 1971 the Whitcombe and Tombs merged with the printers , Coulls Somerville Wilkie Limited and became known as Whitcoulls.

Institute Civil Engineers and IPENZ - Papers

 Hugh Vickerman, brother- in-law of Bertie Whitcombe by marriage, had gone to war with the rank of Captain . He returned with the rank of Major and officer commanding the Tunnelling Company in France in 1916.
Vickerman was president of the New Zealand Institution of Engineers for 1935-36. Another body that also published papers under transactions and proceedings of this professional body of engineers. In 1960 Victoria University of Wellington were recipients of a bequest  providing a scholarship, bursary or prize to students enrolled at the University to pursue professional engineering studies.

Auckland Star, 23 May 1896 courtesy Papers Past National Library NZ 
Brown and Stewart - Wholesale Manufacturing Stationers and Paper Merchants
Established in 1895 by Messrs Thomas George  Brown and Robert Leslie Stewart The firm imported  largely from America and Europe, news and all kinds of printing paper, and also all descriptions of writing paper in the flat. specialty of manufacturing account books and school exercise books. Paper, a needed commodity for our daily news and there were plenty of newspapers. A search of Papers Past found Brown and Stewart advertising for book binders, cutters and women for the stationery department.

Old Imperial typewriter - my mother used to use similar as a first typewriter
when reporting for newspapers. Photo courtesy Chris Ball


William Wilkinson, with Corlett, launched one of the first newspapers on the Thames Goldfields, first published  on 11 April 1868 - the Thames Advertiser and Miners’ News. In  1872 Alfred Horton joined William Wilkinson as co- owner of this newspaper. Horton originally founded  the Timaru Herald with  Ingram Shrimpton - first  printed on 11 June 1864 Horton sold his interest in the Thames Advertiser in 1876 and moved on to the New Zealand Herald, joining forces with Wilson - Wilson & Horton.



 Have come a full circle . Some of my queries have been answered. Some are still " brick walls" yet to be solved. Now it is live in a digital age with E Books, Kindle and websites such as Google that have digitised books and Libraries that have digitised those old newspapers. Yes can read online about those printers, publishers and book sellers of part of the  past of  New Zealand History .However it is the feel of a book and smell of the paper that is still enjoyed .

Enjoyed now is the opportunity to see that old printing equipment used to print those early books  and Libraries and Archives such as those at Auckland, Thames, Wellington, Dunedin, Timaru where can research in books of way back then - to when Colenso a printer arrived in 1834 with the Stanhope Press - the start to  my wider family involvement in printing, publishing and book selling.
  Reference Sources:
         Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961
Page 3 Advertisements Column 5 Daily Southern Cross, 22 March 1865, P 3
Untitled New Zealand Herald, 13 September 1870, Page 2
       Page 4 Advertisements Col 3 New Zealand Herald, , 18 May 1871, Page 4
       THAMES BOROUGH COUNCIL. Thames Advertiser, 27 August 1880,  3
          DEATH OF MR. W. GORRIE. New Zealand Herald, 18 April 1911, Page 5
        BUSINESS CHANGE. Auckland Star, , 16 June 1916, Page 6
       OBITUARY. Auckland Star, 4 March 1931, P 5

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