Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Suburban ghost signs from the four corners of Melbourne town

It's been a little while since I last posted here - I blame the Xmas/New Year frenzy. Tonight though, I finally managed to clear a backlog of signs, photographed on an aged, cracked and increasingly grumpy iPhone 2. They're not grand; more signs of local life in the 'burbs of Melbourne, little reminders of previous lives lived in the area.

Firstly, the West (Newport and Williamstown), starting with an outstanding old grocery on the Old Melbourne Road:


And here are the others from the area, starting with three from a group of (now gentrified) shops in Kingsville with a village-like feel amongst the hairdressers, cafes and converted shopfront apartments:


Early example of a fake ghost sign...side of a pub in ye olde Williamstown (re?)painted in 1986

And a few from Flemington:

This one has a story attached that I'll post about in a future post...

And now to the south - Elsternwick, Caulfield, Balaclava, Gardenvale and McKinnon. Elsternwick/South Caulfield first:

More orphaned milk bar than ghost sign, but kind of belongs here...

Deliberately preserved in Glenhuntly Road redevelopment. Has remains of Vacuum Oil Co letters on left.

On to Balaclava:

Venerable old pharmacy wall. Followed by an ad on a blotter for Brinsmead's, and a Kodak sign that sits above this one on the same wall.

The ghost signs have been like that for quite a while too. This photo (on the State Library of Victoria site) is from 1976:

Now for Gardenvale:

and finally, McKinnon:

On to the northern suburbs - Abbotsford, Collingwood, a few more from Fitzroy/Carlton. Abbotsford:

Uncovered in a back street. Had to stand on a skip bin to take the pic. I think it says Witch Soap (lots of need for soap in Abbotsford once upon a time? See on...)

Closeup of last sign.

And on the back of the building...see next pic.

Collingwood (two taken in hurry from inside moving car):


North Carlton:

Or maybe the last two were Abbotsford? Can't remember...

Inside a hairdresser's on Lygon St north. Started taking a pic of this beautifully preserved sign from outside and they invited me in.

And finally, one each from Preston, Reservoir, the CBD and somewhere in the east (forget where..snapped in transit):

Cement and potatoes? They had diversified business models in Reservoir...


  1. Good stuff! You should check out old Bayside Suburbs like Hampton, Sandringham, Beaumaris.

    1. Funny you should say that - did so a few days ago and the next post will be about exactly that.