Report by Dr. Ian J. Wilson

Dr. Wilson has examined a copy of the supplement to the "Sydney Gazette" of 29 July 1820 and found it to be an unsophisticated laid paper which he describes as "not very well 'closed', water drops, greyish tone, mainly rag with lots of hemp shives and some coloured fibres, soft feel and low crackle, unsized or soft-sized, faint mould impression with about 25 per inch laid lines and 1 inch chain lines, no watermark, thickness 120 - 140 micrometres, sheet size trimmed but at least H305 x W373 mm." The sheet formation in the example he examined was apparently uncharacteristically bad, but the furnish was course and needed more refining in order to make an acceptable newsprint.

Dr. Wilson has a special interest in the origin and nature of the paper used for printing in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) up to 1825. He was born in Burnie, Tasmania where his father worked at the APPM Paper Mill. His mother and brother also worked at the mill for a time as did Ian himself as a vacation student. Though now retired, he maintains an interest in paper science and technology. He now resides in Belgrave Heights, Victoria, Australia.

In his research on VDL paper he has recorded a 'rustic' paper used by Andrew Bent to print two insignificant pamphlets, one in 1823 the other in 1824. Bearing in mind that 1823 was a year when there were paper shortages in NSW and VDL and for a small private printing job Bent may have been tempted to try some Sydney paper. The paper stands out as being unsophisticated and it has a watermark that is unrecorded by the British Association of Paper Historians. The mark is B/1821 over 2 in one case and B/1821 over 3 in the second case. The numbers 2 and 3 probably refer to the mould number. Dr. Wilson wonders if this B watermark could be from the Bank Mill near Sydney.


Wilson, Ian J. (Dr.) Personal communications

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