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An Australian Press Baron’s Knight Bachelor Certificate and Seal, 1916
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An Australian Press Baron’s Knight Bachelor Certificate and Seal, 1916

Measurements: 24cm (9.5in) x 22cm (8.75in) x 8cm (3.25in)



Comprising a manuscript certificate on vellum to Sir Lauchlan Charles Mackinnon, signed ‘by warrant under the King’s sign manual, the text surrounded by a three-quarter historiated and foliate panel border with the royal arms centered at head and with allegorical figures in foliate garlands at corners and sides, with red wax pendant impression of the Great Seal of the Realm (15.5cm diameter) contained in its original metal case (skippet), the whole housed within a red gilt tooled fitted case by ‘John Peck & Son / Nelson Sqre., Blackfriars - ‘Manufacturers to / H.M. Staty. Office’. Complete with original key.

Sir Lauchlan Charles Mackinnon (1848-1925), was a Scots Australian newspaper proprietor, born on the Isle of Skye and educated at the expense of a wealthy cousin, Lauchlan Mackinnon, the co-proprietor of the Melbourne Argus and Australasian, who chose him as his successor.

In his youth Mackinnon worked at the London Times, the Edinburgh Scotsman and the publishers W. H. Smith & Co. In 1870 he moved to Melbourne, Australia to gain administrative experience. After three years as the Melbourne Argus representative in London where he developed the paper's joint cable-service with the Sydney Morning Herald and the South Australian Register (which eventually became the Australian Press Association), Mackinnon became general manager in 1881. He was sole trustee and representative of the Mackinnon interest in the company after his cousin's death in 1888.

A 'benevolent disciplinarian', he was a key Establishment figure, preserving the Argus as rigidly conservative mainstay of the imperial press system. He also developed a highly profitable business; growing his paper’s circulation from 11,000 to 123,000. At meetings of Australian newspaper proprietors he was invariably the dominant force. He was knighted in 1916.