AIW founding director Peter Clark retires after 50-year career

Clark, 66, is retiring from the web offset print company he co-founded in 2000, though he will remain on hand “to concentrate on the technological side of AIW”.

He started his career as an apprentice lithographic platemaker and printer at Cox Kay Print in Tasmania 50 years ago, before moving “to the mainland” in 1978.

In the early 1990s, Clark joined News Limited’s Commercial Division, which became PMP when Rupert Murdoch spun it off along with Pacific Magazines.

At PMP, Clark’s roles included New Zealand chief executive, setting up the print group’s operations across the Tasman, before returning to Australia to consolidate acquisitions such as Progress Printing, Keppell Printing and Wilke Colour into the Moorebank supersite.

He left PMP around 2000 – on the same day as another highly regarded industry figure, Wayne Sidwell – to established AIW Printing with a group of partners.

Clark recalled how technology had changed over the years. “I used to have to grind my own plates for the presses and put a grain in them and manually coat them.

“I’d go to the deli and buy a dozen eggs and make a light-sensitive coating out of egg albumen, ammonia dichromate and gum Arabic.”

As a printer before the arrival of small-format offset, Clark cut his teeth on now-defunct technology. “At Cox Kay, we had a linotype machine, Ludlow type, hand composition and a hand bindery doing leather binding using foul-smelling glue from cow’s hooves.”

Under Clark, AIW Printing continued to move with the times, investing in an 80pp Goss Sunday 4000 in 2008. “We were the first in Australia to get a web press of more than two metres wide. That has been a great success –we will probably do that again sometime soon.”

Clark told ProPrint that other highlights of his half-century career included nearly a decade working with Dick Pratt at Visy, as well as his tenure in the corrugated division of Smorgon Consolidated Industries, where his team came up with the push-in handle found on the modern wine cask

AIW Printing specialises in catalogues and magazines and is the fourth-largest web printer in the country after PMP, IPMG and Franklin Web.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at  

Sign up to the Sprinter newsletter

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.