Ink in the Blood

The Herald and Weekly Times Building on Flinders Street MelbourneA new City Gallery exhibition tells the story of Melbourne’s major newspapers and their deep imprint on the city. Ink in the Blood chronicles the newspaper industry’s daily race against time to reflect the city’s life and personality through a collection of photographs, illustrations, cartoons and glass plate transparencies.

This is a story of busy hands and ticking clocks. It was an immense hands-on undertaking by huge labour forces, many using now-exotic manual skills. From industrial workers steeped in ink to suited gentlemen presiding over their print empires, there were ranks of reporters, editors, photographers, typists, compositors, printers, truck-drivers and newsboys.

This massive industry forged essential connections as the lifeblood of the city. It fostered a thirst for news and connection, and a sense of belonging in the evolving city, all keenly tied to papers flying hot off the presses throughout the day.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle AC said the newspaper industry has been integral to every aspect of Melbourne’s development since the 1840s. “Ink in the Blood reflects on the days when Melbourne’s newspaper titans dominated the market and were the sole conduits of local, national and international news for our city,” said the Lord Mayor. “In today’s evolving media landscape, this exhibition provides an opportunity to ponder the industry’s impact on Melbourne and consider how it is moving forward in the digital age.”

Curated by journalist Andrew Stephens, Ink in the Blood features artwork by cartoonist Ron Tandberg, photographers Angus O’Callaghan and Mark Strizic, illustrator Kenny Pittock and painter Stephen Armstrong. In addition to images of newsboys and a series of original glass plate transparencies, a Germaine Greer press pass and other artefacts from the City Collection will be on display.

Andrew Stephens said Ink in the Blood explored the impact of Melbourne’s newspaper industry on the culture and collective psyche of the city. “This is a story of busy hands and ticking clocks – the vigorous daily race against time to reflect the city’s life and personality, and connect it to the world beyond,” said Stephens.

Andrew Stephens is a writer and editor. A former journalist at The Age for almost 30 years, he worked as a reporter, subeditor and feature writer. He did his cadetship at The Sun News-Pictorial when there were still typewriters. Andrew is now editor of Imprint magazine for the Print Council of Australia, and a contributing writer to visual arts magazines such as Art Monthly and Art Guide.

Ink in the Blood
City Gallery – Melbourne Town Hall, 90 – 120 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 17 February 2018
Free admission

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Herald and Weekly Times Building on Flinders Street, Melbourne (supplied)