Letterpress in Australia


I’ve been lurking and reading for quite a while but this is my first post.
I’m hoping to find somewhere to learn more about letterpress in Australia (preferably Western Australia) and would also be very appreciative of any advice anyone can give me on purchasing a press.

Presses seem to be very rare in Australia so although I started looking at Adana table top presses, I’m now thinking I should go straight to Heidelberg platen press or similar as the cost to ‘upgrade’ if I want to move up in the future would then be prohibitive.

I’ve seen this on ebay;

can anyone give an opinion? Given my lack of experience and that it is in a different state, is it possible to hire someone to look over the press for me?

Many thanks

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Windmills are relatively cheap in Australia (compared to Europe or the USA), you need a decent concrete floor for them however. You can pickup decent C&P’s and the occasional Arab in Australia, mostly through e-bay though the best way to get a press is to find old printers (they are normally hoarders). There is a nice gentlemen out your way who might be interested in charging an arm and a leg to teach you (he is really nice and I’m being a little discourteous but since he retired I suspect he’s been a little more interested in money than normal and printers whilst generous are generally fairly interested in money anyway). Please pm me for his details.

There is also the new www.anzprintmaker.com website which is an attempt to create a more local brains trust for artist printers, printmakers and letterpress operators and presses. Might be worth a look for you (I am involved in that site jsut so you know).

I’m not an expert - but that looks a bit like a 3-phase motor out back… do you have that sort of power available?

PS in case you are anywhere near Sydney in July you might be interested in this,

Sydney Printmakers and Letterpress in the Pub
You are invited to the
Coopers Hotel*, Newtown
July 24th

Upstairs from 5:30pm.

Bring examples of your work for show and tell

*Cooper’s Hotel
221 King St Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9550 3461

Hi Karen,

There are lots people here that would probably tell you to be patient that the right one will come along. It’s true. it’s hard, i can understand. You just want to dive into it and get started. Not long ago i was in your position but it feels like it was ages ago.

I have seen a few presses come up online lately with increasing frequency. type in “platen press” instead of letterpress in the search. i have noticed that they rarely are listed as “letterpress”. They occasionally appear on Gumtree so keep an eye there too.

In regards to the choice of press i would suggest that you get a hand fed machine to start with. there is so much to learn even with the less complex option. Upgrading shouldn’t be that hard. you just keep looking for better deals like all of us!
good luck,

Hi Karen,

If you want to PM me, i am in Fremantle, with both an Adana and two Heidelberg Platen Windmills that i use to print various zine’s, artwork, various other bits and pieces and scare my dogs. Happy to show you!

It is a bit difficult in WA. I know a few printers who had very recent model Windmills, that just melted them down for lead. Its expensive to send them interstate, and no one else wanted them.

I bought a load of gorgeous type from a hoarder out in Baldivis, and he had been selling off the antique type to fishermen to use as weights. !!!!.

But now.. as they become less expensive, and as more people are getting into the artform and starting up invite/design businesses - and all the oldies know about E-Bay now, more and more are coming up. I think i paid about 700$ to have one bought over to WA from SA. Not too bad really. Here in less that two weeks.

WAIT. If you see one on ebay - post it on here. Everyone on the Briar Press loves looking at these beautiful machines. You will have no lack of opinions and help. And make sure you somehow see it running.

Thank you all for your responses. I will keep looking at ebay/gumtree to see what comes up. Of course I’d love to find something locally but I wouldn’t mind getting something over from the eastern states especially if those with more experience can give me options on condition etc.

The type being used as fishing weight gave me a good laugh!


hi guy,you can get some information from this link