Carved Chronicles

Unveiling the Legacy of Woodblock Printing in Glen Innes

The Glen Innes Examiner – formerly the Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser – has been a source of news for the Glen Innes community of New South Wales for a hundred and fifty years. First established in 1874, the newspaper played an important role in the early days of the town. Spreading information about local affairs, advertising local stores, and keeping citizens informed of current events all played a role in establishing a strong and connected community.

In the days before mechanised printing, newspapers commonly made use of advertising blocks in order to mass-produce identical images or text. Crafted from wood and sometimes metal, these blocks were inserted into the page setup, allowing for efficient and consistent reproduction of advertisements. The meticulous process involved artisans carving text or designs onto the blocks, ensuring that the carved impressions would transfer accurately onto paper. Of course, text had to be carefully carved back-to-front so that the printed words would appear the correct way around!

These particular blocks were designed for the Mackenzies store, one of the earliest department stores in Glen Innes, NSW, and were used to print advertisements in the Examiner. Today, newspapers have radically changed their formats in response to new technologies – especially online advertising. Despite these changes, the Glen Innes Examiner still stands today as an important source of information for the local community.