Collaboration and Connections: Postprints of the AICCM Paper, Books and Photographic Materials Special Interest Group Symposium, Sydney 1-3 April 2004, pp. 67-77
Bookbinding as a craft appears to have been established in Australian institutions at about the turn of the nineteenth century although commercial binding businesses did not become significant until after the 1830s. In these early years, the skills were essentially immigrant and the mainstay of their income and competence was in ledger bindings and account books, with some publisher’s binding of Australian books. Second generation binders, trained by the original immigrant binders emerged in the second half of the century. Australian craft bookbinders figured reasonably prominently in the binding exhibits at international exhibitions around the world from the 1851 London Exhibition onward receiving a number of awards and commendations, including for bindings produced within the various Government Printers. Women, who initially were employed in binderies only in early forwarding work, began to emerge as fullyfledged craft binders by the early twentieth century, with their work significantly featuring in arts and crafts exhibitions thereafter. During the first half of the twentieth century, labour costs began to militate against craft binding in favour of mass produced and mechanised case bindings although some re-emergence of interest has occurred since about the 1980s.