Thursday, September 13, 2007

Earliest Australian Imprint Goes Home

I'm well behind the eight-ball on this story, but lest I be accused of anti-Antipodeanism, I feel duty-bound to post on it (plus, it's neat).

On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented Australian P.M. John Howard with what's believed to be the oldest surviving document printed in Australia: a 1796 playbill (image) for a Sydney production of "Jane Shore," a play written by Nicholas Rowe in 1714.*

The playbill was recently discovered by librarian Elaine Hoag "inside a 150-year-old scrapbook that had been donated to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) by the Library of Parliament in 1973." Its path from Sydney to Canada is not yet known.

Very cool find, and awfully nice of Canada to allow for its return to Australia.

* Jane Shore was a mistress of Edward IV.