When you open the door and step in to Cracker Print and Paper in Toowoomba’s CBD 435 Ruthven Street frontage, you enter in two distinct worlds – one of a contemporary range of cards, notebooks and paper crafting accessories and the other the world of the history of over a century of Toowoomba’s tradition of printing. Both produce the WOW factor!
Cracker Print and Paper came in to being in 2001 with the purchase and subsequent amalgamation of McDonald and Rosbrook and Harrison Printing Company. Both being well-respected and long established commercial printing companies in Toowoomba, their collective history starts in the very late 1800s with McDonald and Rosbrook and then in 1907 with the opening of Harrison Printing Company.
Cracker is a family owned business with the proprietors being the McDonald family of John (Cracker), Joan, Geoff and Lisa. The stability of the staff is evident with most of the employees recording 10 or more years’ service. Cracker’s vision of being recognised amongst the best and most respected maufacturers and suppliers of corporate, professional, personal printing and associated products is certainly being realised, judging by the recommendations of its clients.
The Printing Hub is piloted by Bob Ryan whose approachable manner makes discussing and ordering a project a very comfortable experience. Working with Bob in the graphic design area upstairs in the historic building are Dave and Mark who deliver very accurate, professional versions of initial concepts.
While the staff these days work with high-tech machines and operate in a digital age, the building occasionally hums to the old machines which Bob learnt on as a young trainee a few years ago now. These sturdy machines conjure up scenes from the wild west movies of the newspaper men in their aprons and shirt-sleeves manually setting type and printing the news. Nostalgia still exists at Cracker, but the operation is definitely using the latest technology. It produces over 2000 printed projects per year.
Cracker, as a long-term community contributor is generously sponsoring the inaugural Top of the Range Word Fest event this weekend – 6th November – through the printing of the A1 Information posters which tell the proud history of literature produced in the region up until 2000. This historical Timeline, produced by researcher Shirley Chambers, will hang proudly on the wall of the new WRITE GALLERY at 126 Margaret Street. As part of the visionary Lighthouse Complex on that site, Emma Mactaggart’s vision of a discrete home for writers is slowly unfolding. Bob was able to see the tremendous value to Toowoomba and beyond, and is eager to see the company’s gift at the opening of the gallery to the public.
At the opening, not only generous with these posters, the 20 authors and organisations who have contributed to the contemporary writing landscape, will proudly display a Cracker designed and produced A3 poster outlining a bio and information about their published works. It will front their table while they share and sign their books on the day. What a fantastic contribution to this fresh and exciting initiative for Toowoomba.
The Collaboration Team for Word Fest is extremely grateful to Cracker Print and Paper for its sponsorship, without which we would not have been able to provide the quality legacy to the local creative arts fraternity. We look forward to Cracker’s continued collaboration throughout the diverse range of events in 2022.