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Signs of Australia: Vintage signs from the city to the outback

and delightful log, or if you like recording or cataloguing, of an aspect of Australian life which is sadly slowly fading into obscurity. Perhaps it is something you can gift to yourself as a present under the tree or just simply because you deserve it!

Very little can be done to preserve such icons of Australian history as many of the signs captured , have now moved into thee realms of what is known by those in the know as ‘ghost signs; ads for products long passed into history. Signs such as Solyptol Soap, something many will remember from their childhood, as it was present in every household of the time, used for a myriad of uses for its antiseptic properties and the well-known Dingo on the side of the heritage listed flour mills in Fremantle. This icon of Fremantle was restored in 2016.

Brady Michaels and Dale Campisi have been avid vintage sign hunters for over a decade, having been inducted into the obsession by three signs in particular, which they lovingly refer to as Melbourne Icons: Skipping Girl, a top hatted pig and the Nylex clock. This love affair encouraged them to take a road trip across the eight states of Australia in an  attempt to discover and record, this fascinating history of signwriting and typography, both of which have become a niche art form, having been replaced by computer generated images and decal application.

For the traveller this is a perfect gift, as if offers a little bit of something similar to a treasure hunt, to the long and winding roads of Australia and the many small towns it goes through. The signs are often hidden, faded and forlorn, just begging to be discovered and marvelled over. A few have been rescued and rejuvenated, to live again as a sign post to days gone by. Some are from times not so long ago, but have moved on to make place for yet another aspect of modern day life.

With the advent of the neon sign during the 1950’s, signage was born again, heralding in  an era of opulence, post war pizazz and vivacious, advertising anything and everything in a manner that was marvelled at, due in part to this colourful new technology,  as well as the many eye catching designs, which were fantastic pieces of stylised art.

The book has been divided up into States and then subheadings of the various towns where the signs have been discovered, but none the less, those who decide to add this element of fun and treasure hunting to their journey, will still have to have a keen eye to discover many of them, as they are discrete and often times, very well hidden.

Signs of Australia is a lovely collection of photographs to be savoured, as it has many, many, memories enclosed within the pages and it will, regardless of how you choose to travel, armchair of other, provide hours of fun and enjoyment wandering down memory lane.

AuthorBrady Michaels, Dale Campisi
PublisherNew South Publications
DistributorNew South Books
ReleasedNovember 2017