A Life in Print. Vale Neil Mulveney

Neil Mulveney

The print industry mourns the passing of Champion Press’s Neil Mulveney, an industry stalwart who devoted his life to print.

Mulveney started in print at the young age of 11 years old, delivering copy for E. Angelo & Sons, commercial printers in Campsie.

Fascinated by the ‘copy’ he delivered returning a few days later in printed form he was hooked on the concept.

At the age of 19, from a garage in his parents’ backyard, Mulveney began trading as Dalnor Press (his brother Ronald’s name, backwards). This was the beginning of what was to become Champion Press.

Mulveney’s business quickly outgrew the garage and moved to a shop and dwelling on Stanmore Road, Petersham, in 1954. He acquired his first Heidelberg press, a 10 by 15-inch platen – a giant platen for its time – a small Heidelberg cylinder press, and his first KORD offset press.

The business was there for seven years before it moved to Marrickville, when he purchased another KOR offset press, then a single colour Heidelberg RON offset press.

In 1968, Dalnor Press bought out the Langlea Printery, which was in St Peters, and combined the two plants into the Langlea premises. As a result, Champion Press was founded in 1967.

Mulveney attended his first drupa in 1967 and continued to do so until 2004.

“That very first trip overseas opened my eyes to a whole new world – not just in printing, but a vision for my life,” Mulveney told Sprinter in 2020.

“In 1987, I visited the US with a view to purchase a narrow web Harris M110 5 colour web offset press. This was the beginning of a whole new phase for the business as we could then print both sides of the sheet simultaneously, dry it, and fold it, ready for the finishing processes. For me, this was the beginning, of creating ‘in-line’ finished products.”

Champion Press grew rapidly, and Mulveney purchased five acres of land at Minto, and created an 80,000-square foot complex to accommodate the growth.

In 1987, Mulveney sold Champion Press to Hannanprint.

“We could not have had a better outcome. The summation of the work of many paid off. The Hannan family were outstanding to deal with, and very accommodating to our staff,” Mulveney said at the time.

Mulveney witnessed vast changes in print over his life, especially with the growth of digital.

Until his final hours, Mulveney held a deep affection for the print trade.

“Like many of my contemporaries, I’ve had the best years in print,” Mulvaney told Sprinter in 2020.

Retired industry executive Scott Telfer told Sprinter that Neil would be remembered as someone who had spent a lot of time encouraging and mentoring the next generation of the printing industry.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Neil for many years. I first came into contact with Neil in 1981 when I was working for US-based Harris Graphics – who at the time were the largest web offset press manufacturer.

“I was a press demonstrator and Neil installed the first Harris M-110 8-page Heatset MiniWeb at Champion Press – the start of heatset printing into corporates in Australia.

“I always found him to be a very honourable person who fostered younger people like me and encouraged us to do better things in our lives. I will always remember his smiling face and generous spirit. He will be sorely missed by everyone,” Telfer said.

Bob Lockley, president of the Penrith Print Museum, said Neil will be remembered as one of the industry’s gentlemen as well as a great supporter of all aspects of the museum.

“Even though he was 95 and hospitalised, I would still receive comments on the museum’s Facebook page as well as text messages about where we should be lobbying for additional funding.

“We managed to retrieve his old Albion Press that went to the Hannan family when Champion Press was sold – and we regularly use that for demonstrations at the museum.

“He has always been a great supporter of the museum and donated a number of items that we use today. I’ve also had a long association with Neil through the Press Gang – a forum for a group of production executives that started in the 1960s.

“Neil was a regular attendee at the monthly lunches where we talked about everything relating to production, newspapers and technology with representatives from News Limited, Fairfax, Torch and Rural Press,” Lockley said.

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8 thoughts on “A Life in Print. Vale Neil Mulveney

  1. A life well lived and a true gentleman, through and through. I had the pleasure of working with Neil in his capacity as a long serving Director of Fred Hosking Pty Ltd, with me as CFO.

  2. Neil hired me back in 83 when his first web press was in punchbowl just before the amalgamation of both his sheetfed and web printing operations merged at minto and I had the honour to work on the second heatset press he bought ( later to become a 8 unit twin web press ) , in all the time I worked/knew him I found him a fair and honest man and felt privileged to work for him and I’m saddened to hear of his passing

  3. I first met Neil in 1972 when I was with United Dominions Corporation, the specialty of which was financing the Australian Print Trade equipment.
    From my first meeting I recognised Neil as a very sincere, capable and honest person and always a pleasure to be with.
    From that meeting a strong friendship of 52 years existed with my wife Marilyn and I rating Neil and Margaret Mulveney as 2 of our closest friends
    I have been with Neil at the hospital a few times over the the recent period. Always a pleasure for both of us.
    A great Man in every respect of the word!
    I wish him peace in his new place

  4. From my very first introduction to Neil and subsequently joining his Company Champion Press in 1979 I never ceased to be amazed at his depth of knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for the Printing Industry, and in particular his vision of where he saw Champion Press fitting into the rapidlly changing and highly competitive environment within the industry. Neils boundless enthusiasm and energy along with his genuine deep seated caring nature toward people in general and staff in particular, were the hallmark of his life and unquestionably his success in business in general. A well deserved life member and
    ambassador of the Printing industries fraternity “The Old Friends Society” Neil Mulveney
    can rest easy clear in the knowledge that he will be remembered fondly as a grand
    ambassador through his contribution to the Industry he so dearly loved.

    Fondly
    Doug Alexander
    Sales Director Champion Press

  5. Neil was a true gentleman and his passing is a great loss to the printing industry. My wife and I always enjoyed our evenings spent with Neil and Margaret at the Old Friends Christmas Functions.
    Deepest sympathy to Margaret and his family and friends

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