In 1903 Andrew (Lofty) and Emma Anderson arrived in Rockhampton along with their infant son, William Price (Bill). In addition to their luggage there was a second-hand printing press and just enough metal type to set up a newspaper.
The first step in the founding of City Printing Works was taken on 2nd May 1903 when 2500 copies of ‘The Critic’ were eagerly snatched up by citizens of Rockhampton and Mount Morgan for one penny a copy, less than 2 cents. The name was appropriate as it set out to right justice in and better the lives of workers. Sportsmen and blue collar workers loved it and Lofty Anderson was a hero to many. ‘The Critic’ was a sporting and political weekly available Friday evenings.
In 1908, ‘The Critic’, situated at 14 Denham Street, behind the Leichhardt Hotel, was becoming crowded; it was moved to the middle shop at 167 East Street and the name changed to City Printing Works. In 1922 Lofty bought the shops either side and became the owner of the whole building. ‘The Critic’ continued to be issued weekly and its circulation increased greatly over the years; The Great Depression lead to its closure in 1931.
All copies of the critic can be found on microfiche at the Rockhampton Library in Bolsover Street.
The link between the Anderson Family and City Printing Works has remained unbroken since 1903 through four generations. The structure of the partnership laid down by Lofty Anderson in 1903 has withstood all the fluctuations in the national and local economy, not least in the printing industry. In part, this was because he chose to make it a family partnership, not a family company with an ever-increasing number of shareholders down through the generations. In any company, a large portion of the profits go to the shareholders, but in a partnership, the profits are returned to the business.
This has allowed Andersons to keep abreast of the changes in technology by purchasing the latest printing presses and computerised equipment. In the hands of skilled staff, the firm is therefore able to produce the wide range of technically sophisticated print material, publications required by the business, private and artistic sectors of the community.
‘Success Through Worthy Service’ by Lorna McDonald, was published in 2003 to mark the 100th anniversary of City Printing Works and details the history and progress further. Books can be purchased through City Printing works or online.