Happy Birthday Allen & Unwin – twenty five years of independent publishing!

Australian Colophons

Happy birthday to US – today marks the 25th anniversary of Allen & Unwin becoming an independent publisher!

You may find this confusing, as last year we celebrated our 100th anniversary, but like the Queen we celebrate our birthday on multiple days, and like most people we don’t always tell the whole truth about our age either!

So while the origins of Allen & Unwin began back in 1914 over in Britain, we’re celebrating our Australian birthday today, as it was twenty-five years ago we burst into life, or perhaps more appropriately, fled the nest.

Prompted by a failed merger in Britain, and after the best part of a day and night locked in a room with lawyers, a management buyout meant Allen & Unwin became Australia’s largest independent publisher on this day in 1990.

When asked about his proudest moment of the last 25 years was, our chairman Patrick Gallagher said:

Patrick Gallagher,
Photo: Anthony Johnson

There are many, but perhaps my proudest moment would have to be the first time we collected the Publisher of the Year award, in its inaugural year and after just two years in existence as an independent publisher.

That, coupled with the pleasure and privilege to work with such a great bunch of colleagues in such a unique industry – I hope I’m around to celebrate the 50th!

For more on our history (of celebrating many anniversaries), you can learn more about our 101 year history here, as well as our twenty five years of children’s publishing here and here.

We’ll be celebrating our 25 years of publishing over coming months with blog posts from staff across the organisation on their role and favourite books in the last quarter of our history.

But for now, raise a cuppa to your favourite A&U book (we’d love to hear what it is, it’s near impossible getting our staff to pick theirs!) – here’s to the next twenty five years of books that matter!


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