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Celebrating 50 years of publishing in Australia

06 DECEMBER 2019
Cambridge University Press held an official celebration to mark 50 years of publishing for the Press on the red continent.

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To mark this major milestone, the Cambridge University Press Board visited the Melbourne office where they spent time meeting colleagues across every department.

On Tuesday, 26 November, colleagues, major distributors, key authors and industry figures met at The Albion Rooftop in South Melbourne to officially mark the anniversary.

Executive Director for the Australia office, Mark O’Neil opened the event: 'I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Kulin nation, the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are gathered today. I pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.'

Peter Phillips reflected on the rich history of Cambridge Australia, starting with our first books sales in the 1890s, through the purchase of Georgian House publishing which established us fifty years ago to our current scale and breadth. 'None of these successes would have been possible without our colleagues, past and present, our expert authors and our industry partners.' He thanked everyone – colleagues, authors, customers and business partners - for fifty years of terrific achievement for Cambridge in Australia and looked forward to a future of further growth and​ success.

Michael Evans, who has been our key author for schools mathematics over the last quarter century, told the story of how our offerings have grown steadily, culminating in the Press becoming Australia’s top maths publisher by some margin.


History 
The Press officially established our Australian office on 1 July, 1969. But the company’s history of doing business in the country began as early as 1892 when John Inglis Lothian, a bookkeeper based in Melbourne, was appointed as agent. His son, Thomas Carlyle Lothian, also entered the business and eventually took over in 1910. A number of agents succeeded Lothian until the Melbourne based publisher, Georgian House, was appointed. 

The Press was the largest publisher amongst those represented by Georgian House. Driven by the expanding size of the market and the necessity to develop locally-led publishing, the Press decided to acquire Georgian House in 1969. 

Georgian House’s then chairman, Brian Harris, became the first Manager of Cambridge Australia. He was succeeded by his brother, Kim Harris, who was at the celebration and whose experience here went back to the origins of the office 50 years ago. In 1998, Sandra McComb was appointed Executive Director. Sandra oversaw the acquisition of a number of local school publishing lists, paving the way for the flourishing of the local Education business. Mark O’Neil succeeded Sandra upon her retirement in 2007. 

Mark has led on the digital development of the Press’s Education business in the country and the subsequent tripling of turnover. The Australian office has also developed an expanding and reputable Higher-Ed list. ​ 

The precise date for the 50th anniversary was 1st July this year.

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