After more than 87 years, a printing press is once again
rolling out the masthead of the Mt Ida Chronicle,
Naseby's former weekly newspaper.
Gold was discovered in the area in 1863 and the ensuing rush
created a town. Six years and several name changes later,
Naseby's Hugh Wilson founded the Mt Ida Chronicle, the
first edition of which went on sale on February 5, 1869.
For 57 years the paper reported the comings and goings of the
community, as well as national and international news, before
the press was stopped and the doors closed after printing a
Christmas Eve edition in 1926.
Naseby Early Settlers Association president Sam Inder said
factors in its closure included the railway bypassing the
town and competition from the Otago Daily Times.
By the early 1920s goldmining was in decline and the town's
Ranfurly took over as the area's commercial centre and with
the Otago Daily Times arriving on the train every day,
''it would have taken the whole of the Maniototo community to
keep it [the Chronicle] going,'' Mr Inder said.
The association had rebuilt the Chronicle offices on
the original site several years ago, forming an important
part of the Maniototo Early Settlers Museum buildings and
The original printing press was lost but around the time of
the rebuild, Sandra Gable, of Christchurch, provided her late
husband's printing machine and other equipment.
It was an American-made Chandler & Price printing press,
smaller than the one the Chronicle was printed on,
although there was once one in the same offices.
Following a recent visit from Lou Young, of the voluntary
Ferrymead Printing Society, in Christchurch, the old press
was brought back to life.
''My wife's niece [Raewyn Inder] asked if I would be
interested to come down and take a look at the print machine
in the town's museum. The idea of having a working print
machine really interested her and many locals.
"I jumped at the chance, as print is a dying art around the
world and to have a print workshop display in the museum
really impressed me,'' Mr Young said.
Soon after he arrived, he was surprised to find out whose
machine it had been.
''The biggest surprise of my trip was to learn that I had
already seen the print shop machine and equipment many years
before. ... John was a printing colleague of mine and we had
worked together years ago.
"I have been in the very workshop he was running at home with
this exact equipment. What an amazing coincidence.''
Mr Young and Mrs Inder cleaned up the machine and, with a bit
of help from local mechanic Eric Swinbourn's oil can and rag,
the print machine started to roll.
Mrs Inder said it was not until Mr Young was applying the ink
that they realised just how significant the situation was.
''We just did my name with a Mt Ida Chronicle heading
then afterwards realised it was the first print that had been
done in 88 years, so then we did a second print with the
Mt Ida Chronicle heading.''
While the press is too small to revive the Chronicle,
there were plans to print postcards and other souvenir items,
Mrs Inder said.
She also hoped to take some of the smaller pieces, a hand
press for example, around schools in the area or have pupils
visit Naseby to learn about the history of print and have a
go at printing their names.
Mr Inder had slightly different plans.
''We're going to put the ODT out of business,'' he
The Maniototo Early Settlers Museum holds ledgers of almost
every copy of the Mt Ida Chronicle. Excerpts can also
be found on the PapersPast website.