AN OLD REGISTER PROPRIETOR.
MR. JOSEPH FISHER, AN INTERVIEW.
Mr. Joseph Fisher, of Fullarton, was brought up from infancy almost within a stone's throw of the earliest office occupied by The Register, spent his youth in in its employ, and in early manhood possessed an
interest in the proprietary of the paper. A representative of The Register visited him at his beautiful home in Fisher street on Tuesday afternoon, and conversed on the incidents connected with the journal in its early days. Mr. Fisher and his good wife were sitting in tlie spacious parlour of their residence, Woodfield, which overlooked a charming prospect of lawn and garden and arboreal growth, topped by the glory of the hills in the changing light of the fast declining sun. The old gentleman— for he has just passed his seventieth birthday— held in his hand a book he had been reading, the story of the pioneer Ridley, who by the invention of' his wheat stripper laid the State under a debt which it can never re- pay, and, to its shame be it said, never tried to repay in anything like adequate form. As Mr. Fisher turned to the re- porter, he remarked, 'There are two men who, before all others, should have sta- tues erected to their memory in Adelaide — Sir R. R. Torrens, the originator of the Real Property Act, and Ridley, the inven- tor oi the stripper.' —Early Days.— In reply to a request for information concerning the early days of The Register, Mr. Fisher said:— ''Well, I was not con- nected with the office until 1848; but for 10 years before that I lived at the corner of Hindley and Morphett streets, within 100 yards of the establishment where this paper was first printed in Adelaide. That was the business part of the city in these days. In 1840 I was engaged as clerk by Mr. Anthony Forster, who had a mercan- tile house in Tavistock street, in the early part of 1848 he left a note for me, stat- ing that be had been offered a partnership with Mr. Stephens in The Register, had arranged to try it for three months, and that I was to be taken into the office. Mr. Forster, after the period named, declined to retain his connection with the proprietary, as he en- tertained a distaste for journalistic work, and retired to Broadoak, Greenock Creek, where he started sheepfarming. I stayed on at the office, and had to lend a hand in nearly every department of the work. —Late for the Mail.— 'Scores of hours I have toiled at the old Columbian hand press, which used to be operated in the front office; then I had to 'feed' and 'fly' the sheets, ink the formes, help to fold (by band), and paste up the papers in parcels for the mail coaches, and keep the books. The work of getting 'out the paper called for the help of every one. Mr. W. C. Cox, the manager (afterwards Government Printer), did not recognise at that time that if the type were wetted it was possible for the columns to be slid on to the press without falling to pieces, and each was carefully tied up with string, which had to be untied before the forme was 'locked up.' This operation took a considerable time. Then we often stopped to include later news, and the runners would frequently have to wait at the office for four or five hours before the paper would bo ready for them. We had to rush to get the parcel covers written and the papers packed for the coaches. I remember that on one occasion two or three were overlooked. The coach had got a good start before they were discovered, and they had to be sent on horseback after the mail as far as O'Halloran Hill. —The Shipping Reporter.— 'All the outside work had to be done on horseback, and the proprietary kept a steed constantly in readiness at one of tht city stables. The Hindley street establish- ment had a stationer's shop in front con nected with it, and was looked after by Mr. Charles Jenkins, who was also shipping reporter, and twice a week had to ride down to Port Adelaide, put up his horse there, cross the river in a dingey, walk over to the Semaphore beach, and then go out to the offing in a whaleboat. —The Government Gazette.— 'The Government Gazette was at first incorporated with the paper, but after the two were separated it was still printed at The Register jobbing office for years. It was thus published when I joined The Re- gister in 1848, but within a year the Govern ment Printing Office was established. I used to have to take the proofs week by week to Mr. O. K. Richardson, chief clerk to the Colonial Secretary, and read the copy to him for corrections. -The New Office.- 'I remember quite well the transition from the Hindley street premises to the office in Grenfell street, 50 years since. We bought the building in 1854 from B. Amsberg & Co. It was then only one story in height, and for years had been used as a mercantile establishment, and then was turned into a restaurant. There was a gal- lery all round the interior, which we util- ized for the bookkeeping department. As soon as we bought the place, we employed Mr. J. W. Cole, architect, to adapt it for a newspaper office. The walls were under- pinned and strengthened, and the second story erected; and not the least pretentious part of the contract was the erection of the tower and flagstaff. Front this eminence in those days there was an uninterrupted view of the sea, and it was a thing that The Register prided itself upon that an on- looker stationed there could signal the ar- rival of a vessel in the offing long before it was visible to the man at the Government flagstaff on West terrace. Many and many an hour have I watched from that tower to get a glimpse of the mail steamer coming in— for there was then no telegraph or re- gular communication with the Semaphore. Sometimes we had to look out day after day for a week or two before the expected steamer would appear; and when it came in sight the compositors were all summon- ed to duty immediately, every man receiv- ing a consideration as 'call money.' — The First Copy Printed by Steam.— 'I remember well the morning upon which steam was used for the first time to print The Register. I had breakfasted with Mr. Forster at his residence in Enfield; and as we were riding together across the north park lands towards the city, we met Mr. E. J. Eyre, who wns then shipping repor- ter, coming at a great pace on The Register horse, with the first copy printed by steam. I beiieve the leader in that issue, which is a most creditable piece of work, was writ ten by the late Dr. Garran, who afterwards became editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.' Mr. Fisher expressed gratification at the continued success of The Register, and con cluded with the observation— 'There was no eight-hour system in my time, everybody had to work long and to work hard but we worked willingly, and I don't think we were any worse for the strain.'' Certainly the old pioneer looks fairly strong to-day, notwithstanding that he is just recovering from a severe attack of influenza, which has confined him to his bed for over a week. His has been a busy life, and in business and politics he has wrought well for the benefit of the community. His generous gift of 3,000 guineas, made a year since to various South Australian institutions and charities, was no great surprise to the many friends who knew his generous disposition. Mr. Fisher has not yet put off the harness; but attends regularly to his office and other duties. 'Life's work well done,' he and Mrs. Fisher now enjoy to a large extent the comfort and affluence that have come as a reward of honest labour, in one of the pret- tiest and most artistic homes in the suburbs of Adelaide. Toe extraortiinary resuscitating power of light received a curioiw illustration in the silver mines at Lnurium, A mine had been abandoned 2,000 years, and the seed of some poppies was found beneath the slier of a species which had disappeared for 20 centuries. THe slag being removed,, in a short time the entire space was covered with the most gorgeous show of poppies. After their 20 centuries' rest they had bloomed as vigorously as ever without air m water. . .. .. ?