Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ghost sign article from Singapore's Straits Times, with with yours truly interviewed

Here's the latest interview I did on ghost signs - this time from Singapore :)

Peace in the Valley...some ghost sign respite in Brisbane

Last week I found myself in Brisbane at short notice, staying near the Royal Brisbane Hospital. This was where my stepfather had been admitted, before passing away during my stay. After a pretty intense and draining two days, I had half an hour before being driven out to the airport. So I took that half hour to do a whistle-stop walk around the old and changing Fortitude Valley, iPhone in hand. Below are the results. It was noticable how the tension of the last two days ratcheted down, simply by looking up and taking pics of old signs.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Local news story on a Ballarat uncovering: Demolition of Plaster Fun House reveals former uses

From the Ballarat Courier:

THE first layer of the Plaster Fun House building has been peeled back, unveiling another part of its history. 

It shows three old arches and the sign ‘Grenville Street Market for Fruit and Vegetables’.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Yours truly interviewed for Sydney Morning Herald article on ghost signs

 Here's an article from the weekend papers in Sydney, with an interview. Following that is an editorial from the same issue :)

Oh, and PS - we have had to cancel our seminar today due to unforseen family stuff. Will post again when we have a new date.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Talk about my and Lisa's signwriting exhibition and mural project - Tuesday next week at 4pm in Footscray

Next Tuesday at 4pm I'm running a seminar in Footscray about our 'Keepers of Ghosts' signwriting exhibition and mural painting project. Everyone is welcome. Here's the blurb:

The seminar will feature both Stefan and professional sign artist and historian Tony Mead, who also played a leading role in the project.

The Keepers of Ghosts project began when 10,000 records from a former sign-painting company were rescued from a demolition site in Footscray, Melbourne.

Beginning with the creation of an online document archive (, the project has since developed into an experimental community research project involving sign writers, shopkeepers, local history aficionados, students and people interested in ‘ghost signs’, or the remains of painted advertising signs. Activities have included a seminar, a blog, an online survey, student projects and a 2013 exhibition in a local cafĂ©, the wall of which was used as a canvas for the communal painting (by Tony Mead and helpers) of a signwriting-related mural. Over 200 people visited the exhibition, and the project featured on the Channel Ten news, ABC Radio, The Age and local newspapers.

In this presentation Stefan and Tony will discuss a number of interrelated threads:

  • Tony’s reflections on the project from the point of view of a sign painting professional
  • the widespread and growing use of sociable mediato informally document and share otherwise-forgotten aspects of urban memory, generating a form of ‘network sociality’ connected to place and belonging; 
  •  the proposition that the interplay between digital and physical archival activities can be harnessed to involve and connect diverse groups of people with shared interests, invoking the notion of a ‘museum without walls’;
  • some preliminary findings from the project interviews, written comments and surveys

Date: Tuesday 27 May 2014
Venue: Room T109, Bld T, Victoria University, Footscray Nicholson Campus (cnr Buckley and Nicholson Streets, Footscray)
Time: 4.00pm to 5.00pm

As numbers will be limited please RSVP by Monday 26 May to Please feel free to forward this to anyone who may be interested.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Milk bar in Seddon, with hints of its former Bushells Tea sign (plus a few others)

The results of my lunchtime walk today:

See the 'h' of the former Bushells sign?

And down the road:

Repainted sign for the now-Western Bulldogs on the former Rising Sun Hotel

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Two wonderful uncoverings in Newcastle, courtesy of Kristy

Some fantastic uncoverings from the regional centre of Newcastle in New South Wales, thanks to Kristy. They look like they've been exposed through building works. Given the city's devastating earthquake in 1989 (, I'm both thankful that these signs have survived, and wonder if the building works have had anything to do with this:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Well-preserved ETA jelly sign in Dimboola

Thanks to my colleague Tony, here's a pic of a well-kept ETA sign in the Victorian country town of Dimboola. Has it been touched up? Perhaps. If not, it's been very well preserved indeed:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Another uncovering on Glenhuntly Road - thanks Aaron

Aaron has just sent through a phone pic of yet another uncovering on Glenhuntly Road, this time near the RSL. It appears to be advertising Empire shoe brushes, plus a boot polish. For a short time only, like the others: