Signs Publishing Company
Three Adventist preachers, Stephen Haskell, John Corliss and Mendel Israel, a printer, Henry Scott, and an experienced door-to-door literature salesperson, William Arnold, travelled from San Francisco to Sydney on June 6, 1885.
The Signs Publishing Company first began as the Echo Publishing Company, in North Fitzroy, a suburb of Melbourne. By 1889 the Echo Publishing Company employed 83 people and was the third largest Seventh-day Adventist publishing house in the world.
The management were committed to the printing and distribution of Seventh-day Adventist literature but were also commercially successful-so successful, in fact, that they soon became the unofficial government printers for Victoria. The church decided this was moving in the wrong direction, so decided on a move to Warburton in 1906, where the operation could return to its religious roots.
However the move deprived the company of the considerable income created by the outsourced work, thus funding for religious material was at a premium. Cheap hydro-electricity and abundant land for both factory premises and staff housing were the predominant reasons for the choice of location, and in fact the "Wonwondah" property that was bought had been owned by the husband of a local Adventist.
The Signs Publishing Company was formed and remained on the original premises until 1934, when the Yarra River flooded the valley and ruined a large part of the machinery and building.
A new, brick factory was built on higher ground in 1935 for £23,000. Over the years the building has gone through a number of extensions, the last major extention in 1979 cost $625,000-adding 21,000 square feet. The Signs building along with the Sanitarium building next door are now heritage listed. In 2006, the Signs Publishing Company employed around 50 staff in a variety of print/publishing/import-export positions.
While the modern plant is far removed from the early publishing operation, the philosophy of the company remains the same-to produce and distribute Christian literature for the South Pacific region.
Between 2000 and 2005 the Signs Publishing Company has:
* produced, printed and distributed 6.2 million copies of Record, the weekly news magazine for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific.
* produced, printed and distributed 2.4 million copies of Signs of the Times
* used 2000 tonnes of paper and 17 tons of ink in print projects
* distributed $A18 million of products in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
- Signs Publishing Company
- 3485 Warburton Hwy, Warburton, Vic 3799
- (03) 5965 6300