Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Melbourne ghost sign blog from Rob Gray- plus Adelaide history app

Fellow local ghost sign aficionado Rob Gray has developed his own ghost sign blog, replete with some great historical context about the signs and the companies behind them:

Also, there's a new augmented reality app called Adelaidia that focuses on the history of central Adelaide. Read about it here:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Next Thursday - 'take two' for our seminar on our Lewis & Skinner community ghost signs/signwriting/archives project. All welcome.

Next Thursday at 4pm I'm running a seminar in Footscray about our 'Keepers of Ghosts' signwriting exhibition and mural painting project. Everyone is welcome. We were due to do this seminar in May, but last-minute family stuff got in the way and so we've rescheduled.

Here's the official blurb: 


The Keepers of Ghosts seminar will feature key people from the project Dr Stefan Schutt, Dr Lisa Cianci and professional sign artist and historian Tony Mead.

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: Thursday 2 October 2014
Venue: Room T109, Bld T, Footscray Nicholson Campus
 (cnr Buckley and Nicholson Streets, Footscray)
Time: 4.00pm to 5.00pm

As numbers will be limited please RSVP by Wednesday 1 October to Please feel free to forward this to anyone who may be interested.

Time: 4.00pm to 5.00pm

Henry Richards, saw maker...revealed in LaTrobe Street (thanks Sarah)

Here's a great cobalt blue sign revealed during a demolition in the's probably gone by now (thanks Sarah for sending through the pic):

The Paragon Printers sign that sat in front of it has also gone, as seen in Leisa's pic from a couple of weeks ago:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A collection of brilliant Melbourne signs from Leisa

Thanks so much to Leisa for passing on these pics of signs I haven't seen before. I'm sure I've been past some of these locations and haven't noticed them:


Heidelberg - nice bit of Bushells sign spotting with that first one:

Front of Heidelberg building:

Some others at the rear:



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A sly schnapps on the side

Yesterday when cycling through Flemington I stumbled on a brilliant little uncovering of a deco-era Schnapps sign. I came back after the workmen had left and, as is my wont, went in the back to take a few 'schnapps snaps'  :)

Firstly, from the front:

 ...and the back: