W.G.M. - Walter George Mason (1820 - 1866)

Mason was born in London, the second son of Abraham John Mason, a well-known wood engraver and lecturer. Walter’s father began teaching him the art of wood-engraving when the family lived in New York in the 1830’s. Walter was sent back to London to train under Mr G. Bonner before 1839. In England, Walter Mason became very well known as a wood engraver and worked with The Illustrated London News, Punch, Pictorial Times, The Art Journal,and other periodicals.

Walter’s brothers, George and Charles, had immigrated to Australia in about 1850 and worked in Sydney as wood engravers.It seems likely that they encouraged Walter to join them. In 1852 Walter and his family left England for Australia, arriving in Sydney via the Windsor on 4 November 1852. Soon after his arrival in Sydney, Mason became involved in the founding of The Illustrated Sydney News.Despite a small permanent staff and the fact that 4000 copies of the first issue were sold at sixpence a copy, the paper had financial problems from the beginning. Over a few months in 1854, five of the original proprietors left the partnership and Walter Mason became printer and publisher.

Despite engraving illustrations for a large number of newspapers, books and magazines, Walter was in financial difficulties for most of his time in Sydney.

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