The Piscator Press

The printing workshop is located on Level 1 of Fisher Library on the Camperdown Campus and houses a second, smaller printing press.

An annual Printer in Residence Program held in second semester is coordinated by Rare Books and Special Collection. Open Studio sessions scheduled during this program provide an opportunity for the university and wider community to get up close and hands on with the press.

The Press is also activated for special events including Sydney Rare Book Week and University Alumni Days, or by request for class demonstrations. 

History of the Piscator Press

Purchased in the early 1960s, the 1879 Improved Albion printing press was the passion of former University Librarian, Harrison Bryan (1962-1980).

 Bryan in the 1963 article, “Private Press in Fisher” considered an intimate understanding of the craftmanship of hand-printed book production essential to textual scholarship and formed a small group of interested staff with the modest ambition “to print well”. The group’s first publication in 1964 is called “A Press is Born: a statement of intent” by Fisher Press, later changed to the Latin “Piscator” Press, meaning Kingfisher to avoid confusion  with a commercial printer of the same name.

This group went on to handset and print approximately 23 publications, including meeting reports, playbills, Christmas cards and wine lists.

Teaching with the Piscator Press

For further information about using the Piscator Press in your teaching or research, email Rare Books & Special Collections.

Annual Printer in Residence Program

Since 2018, the University of Sydney Library has coordinated a Printer in Residence Program using the Piscator Press. This acquisitive eight-week residency, supported by payment of $10,000 is intended to increase awareness of the Piscator Press and to encourage an ongoing enthusiasm for book arts within the University. The Program includes Open Studios engaging with the University community and is coordinated by Rare Books and Special Collections, who receive a printed book or artwork at the end of each residency for inclusion in the Artists Book Collection.

The library would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of ArtScene and The Penrith Print Museum.

Image: Piscator Press : an original pen and ink drawing of the improved Albion hand-printing press, by Allan Gamble. Sydney, 1964. RB 770.1 20.

  • Contact

    For further information about the Piscator Press, the residency or using it in your teaching or research, email Rare Books & Special Collections.