BAKER, William Kellett (1807?-1857) — Sydney
Engraver, stationer, printer, lithographer, bookseller and publisher; proprietor of a circulating library. Also traded as the “Hibernian Press” or the “Hibernian Printing Office”, and the “Australian Stationery Warehouse”. Produced Peter Lewis Bemi, Plan of the estate named Ferry Gardens 1840; William Henry Wells, A map of the county of Cumberland in the colony of New South Wales 1840; Thomas Bird, Plan of XXX allotments Balmain Darling Harbour ca.1840; A map of New Zealand from original surveys by H.M.S. Pelorus ca.1840; Map of Australia showing the routes taken by Sir T. L. Mitchell in his expeditions into the interior of New Holland ca.1841; Plan of 37 allotments at Parramatta being part of the estate of Newlands 1841; E. R. Mickelburgh, Chart of Port Albert 1841; Plan of Chelsea Gardens, Surry Hills 1841; Map of a portion of Australia showing the area of the twenty located counties of New South Wales 1841; Thomas Bird, Town of Brecon 1841; Plan of the township of Broughton 1841; William Henry Wells, Plan of 95 allotments at Canterbury adjoining the Australasian Sugar Company’s works 1841; Edward James Howes Knapp, 108 allotments the property of T. Barker Esquire to be sold by auction by Mr. Blackman 1842; Thomas Bird, Chippendale : plan of allotments in the town of Sydney 1842; Mortimer W. Lewis & Charles E. Langley, Plan of the post town of Saint Marys and suburban allotments situate at South Creek 1842; R. W. Goodall, Plan of Dr Shirwin’s estate near Parramatta 1842; Alexander W. Meikle, Chippendale : plan of valuable building allotments in the city of Sydney 1842; Plan of the county of Cumberland shewing the parishes and police districts 1843; “Baker’s Australian county atlas” 1843-1846; Samuel Augustus Perry, Overland expedition to Port Essington by Ludwig Leichhardt; laid down by Capt. Perry 1846; Baker’s map of Moreton Bay and part of the Darling Downs, Clarence Districts : shewing the stations of the squatters in the Northern Districts of N.S.W. 1846; P. Petrie, Chart of Port Fairy Belfast N.S.W. 1847, etc. Also published almanacs, diaries, music, the Australian Medical Journal, etc.
Born in Dublin, Baker arrived in Sydney in or about 1834, advertising early the following year from his premises “at the corner of King and Castlereagh-streets, where any commands for lithographic and copperplate printing, will be executed in the best manner” (The Australian, 27 Feb 1835). In 1837 he reminded customers that “he continues to mount, letter, colour, or varnish maps, charts, surveying or architectural plans” (The Australian, 13 Jun 1837). The following year he advertised a consignment of Catholic texts from Ireland, as well as a new style of enamelled cards printed in gold or copper bronze. He announced that he had “purchased from Mr. William Nicholas, of Bridge street (formerly Barlow) the zinc patent, press and plates, &c., and engaged a first-rate printer from Hulmandel’s [sic] lithographic establishment, London [i.e. Charles Joseph Hullmandel — see BME 2011], he is now enabled to execute orders to any extent, at the shortest notice, viz : — views, plans of estates, deeds, circulars, &c., &c.” (Sydney Free Press, 24 Aug 1841) — although there was a later dispute over that copyright with Edward David Barlow in 1844. A move to “more commodious and central premises” in King Street East was announced in the Sydney Free Press 28 May 1842, Baker now styling himself as both the “Hibernian Printing Office” and the “Australian Stationery Warehouse”. In 1844, he announced the purchase of a forgery-proof bank-note engraving machine. He moved to new premises once more in 1848. In 1850, he advertised some remaining copies of a map of Sydney, “which was engraved and dedicated to the first Mayor of Sydney, John Hosking, Esq. It shows the boundary of the city, the various wards, parishes, Circular Quay, with a score of intended streets, nor yet completed … but mapping, like everything else, will not pay now-a-days for engraving. On hand, maps of every county in New South Wales, the Squatting Districts, &c., dedicated to and revised by Sir T. L. Mitchell, Knt, Surveyor-General, New South Wales” (The People’s Advocate, 28 September 1850). In 1851, he advertised “On hand, a few copies of Sir Thomas Mitchell’s county maps of Bathurst, Roxburgh, and Wellington, showing every acre of land in the hands of private individuals, as well as those in possession of government in the new gold regions of Australia” (Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 1851). In later life he concentrated on the production of almanacks. He fell from his horse and died of apoplexy by the side of the road at Mount Vincent on 16 Jan 1857 aged forty-nine, leaving his widow Jane Baker and seven surviving children, for whom a public subscription was announced. He was buried at the Glebe Cemetery, East Maitland. A portrait of Baker by William Nicholas was published in 1848.
Corner of King and Castlereagh Streets, Sydney — 1835
19 King Street East, Sydney — 1836-1842
101 King Street East, Sydney — 1842-1846
— and 103 King Street, Sydney — 1844-1845
— and 263 Brickfield Hill, Sydney — 1845-1846
117 King Street East, Sydney — 1848-1851
50 Parramatta Street, Sydney — 1852-1857
COPAC. DAAO. NLA. Niedorf. Tooley. Trove.