Fusion: Deakin Exhibits Online

Publishers of note

In 1859, William Clarson, Alfred Henry Massina (1834−1917), Joseph Shallard, and Joseph T. Gibb began the printing firm, Clarson, Shallard & Co.  In 1866 Shallard and Gibb moved to Sydney, and the firm was renamed Clarson, Massina & Co. They maintained a partnership with Gibbs, Shallard & Co until 1969, when they dissolved ties under mutual consent.4

The firm became involved in publishing periodicals and books, and by the time it published Clarson’s The Kitchen Gardeners and Cottages Manual in 1890, it was known as A H Massina & Co. Alfred Henry Massina was responsible for introducing the first rotary printing machine in Melbourne, having seen it exhibited in London.  


The kitchen garden and cottager's manual : a reliable guide to garden management, and to the culture of culinary crops for the table

R Sheperd, lithograph (1850-1855), The Catalogue of Donations to the Public Library of Victoria.

In 1873 Clarson, Massina, & Co was entrusted to print The Catalogue of Donations to the Public Library of Victoria, an early edition of donated works to the Public Library, Museums and National Gallery as it was then officially named. As with many of the world’s great libraries, The State Library of Victoria (renamed in 1960), continues to rely on donations and acquisitions from private collections today.

‘A contribution so extensive, so valuable, and so generously bestowed, bearing so large a proportion to the books otherwise acquired, has suggested the advisability of printing a separate Catalogue, confined to these gifts; and the occasion affords an opportunity of rendering to the donors this public acknowledgement of the gratitude of the Trustees, in addition to that already more particularly expressed.’5


Perhaps due to a heightened sense of providence while undertaking the task of printing the catalogue, William Clarson and his firm Clarson, Massina & Co each donated to the library and are listed as contributors. Clarson for Practical Astronomie (V Wing, 1618) and the firm for numerous books and journals from its own publication archive.6