Last hot metal-printed newspaper celebrates 100 years

The Don Dorrigo Gazette, based near Coffs Harbour in NSW, still publishes each week’s edition on a Heidelberg Zylinder Automat press.

Owner Michael English told ProPrint that the press is thought to be more that 70 years old.

“A guy from Heidelberg looked at the serial number and told us it was the third-last one built before the beginning of the Second World War,” said English.

English took over the business from his father, John (pictured), who had started at the Gazette as a 17-year-old apprentice and gone on to buy it in the 1970s.

Michael English, who has worked on the paper for the last three-and-a-half years, said he typically starts at 5am on a Monday. “I start by setting the ‘Sport’ before everyone gets in so they’ve something to do,” he explained.

“Then we work until we finish. The typical day is about 12 hours if everything’s going smoothly and there are no problems.”

The 1,000-circulation Gazette is set on a pair of vintage Interype machines. Each run is typically eight pages, printed on 45gsm newsprint supplied by Doggetts. Each week’s edition takes around three hours to print and is finished by hand.

For special editions, such as the 100-year anniversary issue, English produces colour inserts on a Lanier photocopier.

Click here for images from the Don Dorrigo Gazette.

Image taken by Roy Hunt

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