Classes/workshops in Sydney?

I’ve recently fallen in love with letterpress and am interested in taking a class to learn more. However, despite my best googling efforts, I can’t seem to find much in the way of workshops or classes here in Sydney.

There seems to be something at the ANU School of Art in Canberra but I’m wondering if anyone knows of a class here in Sydney?

I could travel to Melbourne if necessary.

May I add what a fantastic resource it is to have this site!

Many thanks in advance.

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Hi there,
I’ve looked far and wide, and haven’t found anyone who teaches letterpress. The problem in Australia is that not many people have presses, so no-one can teach.
I’m in Canberra. The ANU may put on a short course in the future, but I don’t think there are any planned for now.
Because of these lack of resources, I’ve started a blog to record my letterpress learning experiences in Australia. It may be of help:

Thanks Louise!

I came across your blog the other day actually - it’s really interesting and great to know there’s another letterpress person here in Australia.

I know what you mean about lack of resources here for all things letterpress! Very hard to find info and haven’t even started trying to find a press yet so can only imagine what that will be like! :)

Am determined though so hopefully where there’s a will there’s a way!!

Might have to go back and have another read of your blog!

All the best

Have you been out to visit the little printing museum in Penrith? Make friends with them and maybe they’ll show you a thing or two. I haven’t been there in a few years, but they did have a nice Vandercook. I think it was an SP-20.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

No, not yet but it sounds like a good idea!

Thanks Daniel.

Hi R&S. Im a sydney girl who also has a passion for letterpress and I am in the middle of setting up my new studio for my business. I have recently moved to QLD, however I spent about a year researching, researching and researching to try and find equipment and information to learn how to press.

Its been a massive effort to find equipment and people willing to teach you how to do it. Go visit the Penrith museum of print. I did a typesetting course one saturday last year. They do not teach how to press due to OH&S however they will teach you how to assemble type and lock up a chase.

My other advise is to research and never give up! Amongst my travels in the land of letterpress I have come across many beautiful old men who are now retired printers. They have all been just gorgeous and have been most willing to help teach you a thing or too. Its a dying artform and once these men are no longer here their knowledge and expertise will be lost. So generally they have been so excited to show me the ropes. I think they enjoy having a younger generation who is interested in printing.

It takes a lot of hard work and effort to find these little men, but stick with it and contact anyone and everyone you come across who may be able to help you. I also know that the University of Western Sydney campus has an old press at their Penrith/Werrington? campus. Although I don’t beleive they teach with it any further.

Good Luck! Contact me if I can help you in anyway!

Wow ScreamingCactus, thanks so much for the great advice! Everyone on here I’ve met so far is so nice and helpful!!

I’m planning to visit the Penrith museum in the not too distant future, so hopefully that will help me get my head around it all a little bit more.

I completely agree that for us Aussie letterpress people research is pretty much the (only) way to go! Unless I can find one of these lovely old men you’re talking about - if there are any lovely old men out there reading this who would like an ‘apprentice’ please let me know!! I am dying to get my hands on a press and just see how it all works. I am in Sydney by the way.

I also really like your comment about never giving up… it all seems a bit too hard at times to get started doing this when so few resources here to help… compared to the amount of activity going on in the States that is. But am hoping I will eventually find what I need if I stick at it :)

thanks so much again for the great reply!


Updated. Hi everyone that has posted on this list so far, I don’t class myself as old, I only just turned 43 and am happly married with two young children but I have some experience in letterpress, for 17 years I worked with printers as a bookbinder and finisher, sometimes the old-timers would show me stuff on the old letterpress machines and how to set type etc. even setting up and minding some of the presses, for the last 10 years I have run my own bookbinding and restoration business and also collect old printing presses, and when I get time do some printing on my old reliable C&P New Style.
If you take a look at my website (url below) you will see that I own many presses, C&Ps, Kluge, Heidelberg Platens, Adana table top press, even a 1857 Albion Iron Hand Press, I also own many Ludlow type setting machines with around 15 cabinets of fonts, Intertypes, Linotypes and a couple of cabinets of hand set type.
Due to me being very busy in my bookbinding & Restorations I find it hard to get out and use these presses, so I have sold one of my C&Ps and around 4 cabinets of hand set fonts already, and I am parting with a lot more of my collection at present. I will be keeping at least a couple of my presses and some of my hot metal type setting equipment as I use this with my bookbinding, but I have a C&P old style for sale at the moment, and also am thinking of selling my Kluge (with auto feeder) as well, the table-top Adana is also up for grabs, please see my web site for more details.
I am planning in the future to teach both bookbinding and letterpress printing in my own workshop on a one on one basis (as my workshop is small).
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate in calling or emailing me as I am more than happy to chat about anything letterpress and bookbinding.


Milton Watkins

Ballarat Bookbinding & Specialist Printing
312 Albert Street,
Sebastopol, Victoria, 3356
Phone/Fax: (+61 3) 5336 0057
Mobile: 0438 876 467
Email:Please phone me for this or check my website

At Gulgong near Mudgee in the west of NSW about 3-4 hours from Sydney we have an extensive Letterpress display at our museum. We have an Albion hand press, 8x12 C&P, 12x18 C&P a 10x15 Funival Platens. We also have a small 15x20 Wharfedale cylinder press, in the more modern department we have a heidelberg Platen and a Miehle Vertical. We have a good composing area with hand set type, Ludlow, Elrod and 6 linecasters plus much more that makes up a working print shop. I also have a small set up at my home. I can be contacted at 577 Spring Ridge Road, Gulgong NSW 2852 or Phone me at 63741771 we may be able to set up a class. Arthur Johnson

Thanks so much for the replies!

Arthur, I will email you directly about the possibility for a class. Thank you so much for the very generous offer!

Milton, thank you so much as well. Gulgong would be much easier for me to get to obviously as am in Sydney… but if am ever down your way and you are running one on one letterpress classes I would love to pay you a visit.

Thanks again to everyone for your help - very much appreciated!


Come up and see our display at the museum and become a member of the Gulgong Historical Society and help when you can come up here. Learn by working with us. Just let me know when you can come up here so I can be sure of being here. I have set type on the 1928 Intertype today and printed some envelopes on the heidelberg Platen. Arthur

If you go out to the Powerhouse museum storage area at Castle Hill they have a great lot of old letterpress equipment (not Working) being at the museum I often hear of machines etc that come up some happy to get the machines taken away. So if anything comes up I can let you know. Arthur


that would be brilliant. thank you so much. I will be in touch.

Would be very interested in hearing about any working presses you come across…

I’m looking for a tabletop platen press (as live in small flat so no room whatsoever for a floor press). I know every man and his dog wants one of these at the moment but if I can find one I will be so, so happy!

My wishlist:

- a tabletop platen press (in working condition)
- ideally 7 x 11 or larger


- C&P Pilot (or other imitation of similar quality)
- Sigwalt
- Golding
- Superior
- Craftsman

Would LOVE a C&P Pilot (am i asking too much to find one of these here in Oz?)

If anyone out there knows of one, preferably located in NSW (but I will drive pretty much anywhere to pick it up) I will be eternally grateful if you would email me directly and let me know…

and if I do manage to find one you will become my new favourite person!!

I will post an ad in classfieds as well (sorry if this is the wrong place)

thanks again for all the help. So great to find people who are so knowledgeable about all things letterpress and so willing to share that knowledge with a newbie!


Leave me your phone number as I know of a tabletop platen that may be for sale and yes it’s not to far away. Arthur

Arthur, thank you so much.

I won’t get too excited just yet but I definitely have my fingers crossed!

I just emailed you directly with my number :)

thanks again and look forward to speaking with you shortly.


Have not got your number yet Sarah, you can ring me on 63741771. Then i can contact the man that has the press. I know it’s a table top model but that is all. He may have other bits as well. Arthur

Thanks for letting me know Arthur… I will call you as soon as I can tomorrow.


Hi Arthur,

I just tried to call you and left a message… please call me when you get a chance.

My number is 0422 791 233.

thanks and speak soon!


Hello, I am trying to touch base with Arthur in Gulgong as well, as I would be very interested in a class…I live in Bathurst NSW, who would have know there is a collection of beautiful presses nearby! Just thought I’d drop a note to reinforce there is definite interest in keeping letterpress alive here in Aus…cheers, Julie

Hi, I’m another Sarah here (who also lives in Sydney) and just want to add my voice to those interested in letterpress and learning more about it. I too had been searching for courses of some sort and did get hold of a lady late last year at the ANU in Canberra. She said that she was hoping to run one in Canberra this year, possibly after Easter. I haven’t heard anything from her yet, but it might be worth sending her an email so that she knows that there are more people interested in something like this.

Her details are:
Caren Florance
Book Studio
Printmedia & Drawing Workshop
ANU School of Art

Email: [email protected]
Ph: +61 2 6125 5812

Cheers, Sarah

Hello, I’ve just become a member of Briar Press, and find the concept absolutely fabulous. Elizabeth at Briar seems very helpful and personable.
Regarding Letterpress instruction, may I direct you and anyone to the Penrith Museum of Printing, of which I am a member.
I’m still working in the industry as an estimator and office manager and mentor for several firms specialising in digital and offset production. But my apprenticeship was as a hand and machine compositor from 1966 to 1969. I observed and taught my self the craft of letterpress machining and so fell in love with this fantastic and important art. One of the great gifts given to me by my father.
The museum at Penrith holds classes for beginners and people are encouraged to do several courses. Membership is worth the money and they are quite serious about passing on the “secrets” of the trade to people who prove themselves worthy of them.
The website is, or phone their founder Alan Connell on 02 47312 714.
Please mention my name, William Amer, if you make contact. We are planning a rather large open day next year to celebrate the museum’s 25th anniversary with many stalls exhibiting crafts based on printmaking, working with paper and unusual letterpress techniques and expect some commercial presence from suppliers.
Join the museum as an associate or full member and get in on the fun. Finally, someone mentioned in this series of emails that they were having trouble finding “beautiful/little men” knowledgeable in printing; trust me, some of our members are still and have been dynamos in the industry, and as a younger man, myself, I would take my hat off to any of them for having worked in an industry rife with change and challenge, so I say come along to the museum and your opinion of our venerable, generous gentlemen will soon change from being “beautiful/little men”! - William Amer [[email protected]]

Thanks William - I will definitely be heading out to the Penrith Museum (as soon as I get my car problem fixed as am wheel-less at the moment) It certainly sounds like a great resource. The open day in particular sounds fantastic. I also plan to visit Arthur Johnson’s letterpress museum in Gulgong as soon as I can get myself down there. Is wonderful to be finding these resources here in Sydney!

Thanks to everyone who has helped me so far - it is fantastic to find such a helpful community of people so generous with sharing their help and advice. I hope to be able to give something back myself when I finally learn the letterpress ropes!

Arthur - speaking of you! Hope you are well. Thank you so much once again for the help you gave me a few months back. I’m wondering if I could ask your advice on something else… I’ve just sent you an email but last time we had problems so I’m not sure if you will receive it…? If not could you please message me here and I will call you instead. Thanks! Sarah

A 8x12 C&P is available in Sydney with all the equipment needed to do small jobs, plus Guillotine, Folder, Type and lots more. Ring me at 63741771 if anyone is interested. Arthur

Greetings to the other Aussies on the list. No-one has mentioned Carolyn Fraser who runs weekend workshops in her studio in the Nicholson Building in Swanston Street, Melbourne. She covers the basics of typesetting, locking up and make-ready and you get to try printing on her platen press and her Vandercook. Highly recommended. The only drawback from my point of view is that I came away with a strong wish for a Vandercook of my own.

Sue Wood in Wagga Wagga.

Sue not a lot of Vandercooks here in Australia. C&Ps are a lot more common. Vandys were used for repro proofs for offset years ago and it was mainly trade houses thart had them. Production presses like the Heidelberg platen and Miehle Vertical are more plentiful and easier to get.
You think that the supply of letterpress gear is drying up and the anther lot becomes available, just hang in there and you will get what you want. Arthur

Just in case anyone else here wanted to know about courses/ training for letterpress, COFA (The College of Fine Arts) NSW is offering short courses in ‘Designing with Letterpress’ as well as ‘Advanced Letterpress’. I’ve just started the Designing with Letterpress course last week - we’re mainly doing typesetting and such - wIll post later to update you on how it goes!

by William Amer,
Hand and Machine Compositor and Pressman
Invitations are invited from men and women who are interested in learning how to set type either by hand or machine, lock up for a press and print,
then “finish” the job in a tradesman like manner.
One to one instruction at his printing office at
Woodstock near Cowra, mid west NSW or
by his attendance at your premises anywhere in Australia.
William’s experience is drawn from a lifetime in the industry and those people accepted by William, as his students, will be those with the greatest aptitude and potential.
Progressive sessions with William will result in a proficiency and ability unknown in the post-Letterpress age.
Enquiries and discussions on dates, fees and course content can be directed to William:
[email protected]

Dear Aussie Letterpress community -
I am in NYC learning to letterpress, but plan to move back to Sydney in about a year. Are there any polymer plate makers in Australia, it seems like everything you’ve discussed is handset…would really love to know before I learn to design and press in a way I won’t be able to continue once back in Sydney. Thanks so much for any information.

hello fellow aspiring letterpressers I too am keen to learn the craft and set up shop i am a art director and graphic designer and would love to learn the trade before its too late!

ill be researching all of the great suggestions above but if anyone has a press or any other equipment for sale please contact me on [email protected]

thanks so much
soph x

Arthur I have just tried to find a email for you but ive had no luck? If you know of any presses for sale please let me know!

would love to know what the going price for C&Ps are! thanks soph

Hi,I am an old letterpress printer having served my apprenticeship between the years 1969-1972 at CUMBERLAND NEWSPAPERS .If I can be of assistance to anybody regarding the trade I would be glad to help.Phone(02)43282708.

1969-1972, your still a youngster, welcome anyway, looking forward to your posts, lots of youngsters here looking for advice, its fun to share. good luck Dick G.

Did my apprenticeship as Hand and Machine Comp from 1964-1969 at Dudley E. King Linotypers in Melbourne. At present doing volunteer work at the Melbourne Museum of Printing. Some of the gear here came from Dudley Kings, will be worth a look when up and going.

Did my apprenticeship as Hand and Machine Comp from 1964-1969 at Dudley E. King Linotypers in Melbourne. At present doing volunteer work at the Melbourne Museum of Printing. Some of the gear here came from Dudley Kings, will be worth a look when up and going.