Wimble, Frederick Thomas (1846-1936), ink-maker, type-founder and printers’ furnisher, was born on 29 November 1846 in London, the son of Benjamin, a second-generation ink-maker, associated with Cambridge University Press, and  his wife Elizabeth, nee Smith. In 1867, the chesty youth emigrated on the Anglesey, arriving at Melbourne on 29 June 1867. There, he married and then divorced a widow, Harriett Gasgoine, nee Howard, on 13 March 1872, fathering two sons and a daughter.

Wimble brought out a cache of printing materials valued at £150 and a £30 bankdraft to establish himself while his father who forwarded further plant and raw materials. Initially attached to the firm of J. Spencer, Wimble made his first ink here on 4 May 1868, claiming that his blue ink made the Melbourne Star in 1868 the first newspaper to be published with a local supply. His provision of red ink for a South Australian postage stamp in 1869 led to contracts from other colonies. During 1876, he travelled to the United States and Britain, securing agencies for printing equipment. He moved to Sydney from where he furnished the printing trades throughout Australasia.

He conducted a type foundry with overseas-designed faces re-named as Extended Tasmanian Gothic or Wentworth Bold. These nativist attractors were an earnest of Wimble’s devotion to protectionism. “Books fit to be read here must be printed here”, he declared in 1927. “When you are reading a Novel note where it is printed.”  In keeping with the New Protectionism, Wimble supported what he called “legitimate unionism” but exhorted his tradesmen to lead the fight against “the madness of Moscow”.

In 1883, he moved to Cairns, Q., where he speculated in land, founded the first Cairns Post in 1883, was elected alderman and then spent £7,000 in order to be returned as a Liberal MLA from 5 May 1888 to 29 April 1893. He remarried in Brisbane on 16 August 1890, to Marian Sarah Benjamin, who bore him one son and two daughters.

On returning to Sydney, Wimble resumed control to strengthen the branches in each mainland capital and to build a plant at Mascot to support his expanded Clarence Street offices and warehouse showrooms. From 1895, the firm promoted its wares through Wimble’s Reminder, which developed into a handsome New Series from 1906 until 1957. That periodical-cum-catalogue championed process engraving and colour printing, the possibilities of which it displayed in the lavish edition in 1927.

In 1920, Wimble turned the firm into a public company which he chaired until his death, aged 89, on 3 January 1936, at Artarmon, Sydney. His brother Freemasons  attended his cremation. A Printing Museum at New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale (NSW), commemorates his business, which continued with his name until 1991, but under outside managements.

Wimbles Reminder, diamond jubilee number 1928; Queenslander, 17 May 1928; Argus, 4 January 1936; SMH, ??? January 1936; Guide to the Records of F. T. Wimble and Co Ltd in the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney; Climbing the Ladder (Syd., 1924) autobiography; The Australian Type Book (1938). Rod Kirkpatrick, Sworn to No Master, A history of the Provincial Press in Queensland to 1930, (Toowoomba, 1984)

Entry in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplement, MUP, 2005, p. 408.