The printing industry is mourning one of its doyens, Sid Thompson, whose chairmanship of the National Print Awards over a 20-year period from 1982 to 2002 was the crowning achievement of a dynamic career.

sid colour 1.gifSidney Murdoch Thompson died on January 30 and was laid to rest at St Thomas Aquinas Church in South Yarra, Melbourne, on February 2.

Sid Thompson joined the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency as a young man, and later became Production Manager, overseeing several key national print campaigns, including Kraft, Ansett Airlines and Dunlop.

Many years later, he moved to the U.S.P. Needham agency and later worked for the former Telecom Australia, before 'retirement' yielded an opportunity to continue to make his indelible mark on the industry as Chairman of the National Print Awards Organising Committee.

A natural organiser,  he dealt with all the diverse tasks required to stage the Awards each year, including sponsors, judges and more than 1,000 entrants.

Sid hosted the annual presentation dinner, which alternated between Sydney and Melbourne, welcoming a long list of guests, and he secured the services of professional presenters and entertainers to present Gold, Silver and Bronze medals to the best of Australia's printing and graphic arts industry each year.

He also spearheaded the production of a full-colour National Print Awards yearbook that was handed out to guests at the Awards ceremony each year - all traditions that continue to this day.

Yet as friends noted, there was more to Sid than the professionalism he invested in his career - there was the human dimension of a fun-loving individual who enjoyed his work and the camaraderie of his colleagues, in a way that may be waning in today's more sterile working environment.

Sid was part of a small group that defied the weather and organised an impromptu barbecue on the banks of the Yarra River one wintry night, when a staid industry function proved too boring. From that event, sprang an annual Christmas barbecue on the Yarra banks, as well as the Wayzgoose, the revival of a 17th century printers' party, and DOGS (Doyens of Graphics Society).

He was also known as 'the father' at Friday lunches of the printing and advertising fraternity held at the Royal in South Melbourne. As friends noted, Sid and his colleagues made sure there was always an occasion in the offing at which they could conduct business and discuss industry news and views in a convivial way.

Sid was a also a budding amateur songwriter and penned lyrics with Athol Guy and Judith Durham, colleagues at J. Walter Thompson, who later became members of the acclaimed vocal group, The Seekers.

He is survived by his wife Yvonne, his three adult children and five grandchildren.

National Print Awards Chairman Scott Telfer said that Sid's involvement in the National Print Awards will always be remembered.

"He was for many years 'Mr Print Awards'. The board will consider at it next meeting how to best remember Sid and his contribution over the many years of his chairmanship. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our deepest sympathy to his wife and family."

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