HOWE, GEORGE (1769-1821), printer, editor, publisher and poet, was born on the island of St Kitts in the West Indies, the son of Thomas Howe, government printer at Basseterre on St Christopher's Island. George and his brother were both apprenticed to the printing trade. His later work indicates that his education was thorough along the classical lines of the eighteenth century, and that he was well read in European literature.
In 1790 Howe went to London and worked on The Times and other newspapers. He married and his son Robert was born in 1795. In March 1799, together with a companion, Thomas Jones, and under the name of 'George Happy alias Happy George', he was tried at the Warwick Assizes for shoplifting at Alcester; he was sentenced to death but this was commuted to transportation for life. Robert Howe later referred to Alexander McLeay as 'the benefactor of myself and my poor mother', and it was probably McLeay who enabled Howe's family to embark with him in the Royal Admiral. He arrived at Sydney in November 1800, but his wife died on the voyage. Howe himself recovered from a serious illness in 1801 and attributed his survival to D'Arcy Wentworth.
Almost immediately Howe became government printer, and the range of his printing far exceeded the broadsheets and orders of his predecessor, George Hughes. In 1802 he issued the first book printed in Australia, New South Wales General Standing Orders, comprising Government and General Orders issued between 1791 and 1802. On 5 March 1803 he began the publication of the first newspaper, the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. Robert helped in the printing office when the paper began and 'had the honour, even in those infant days, of gaining the smile and eliciting the astonishment of the King's Representative when he saw us perched on a stool'. According to Robert the old printing press was worth only £2 and they had to manage with a mere 20 lbs. (9 kg) of type; but Howe was an 'ingenious man' and managed in spite of the inadequate press, a chronic shortage of ink and paper, and the refusal or inability of many of his subscribers to pay their debts. He was conditionally pardoned in 1803, and fully emancipated in 1806.
This is a portion of the entry from the referenced site. George Howe helped to shape Australia by becoming a government printer and printing the first book and publishing the first newspaper in Australia.
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