Saturday, July 28, 2012

Adelaide part two

On the second day in Adelaide I went to the east part of the city, to Rundle Street and the old market that's now been converted to a pile of stark red-brick apartments, albeit with a few facades retained here and there. And from there, into a few side streets. There were more ghosts signs to be found here than elsewhere. First, the market:

And then the lanes off Rundle and Frome Streets, including Synagogue Place, with the building that is now a nightclub:

This one's from Rundle Mall

..and an attempt to bring the layers back..

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A few stragglers left on the phone from Footscray, and one in Thornbury

Back in Adelaide, but with a different lens

I'm writing this from the State Library of South Australia, having returned to Adelaide for a day's work (I lived and studied here two decades ago). This morning I got off the airport shuttle bus in the city and started walking.

As far as ghost signs go, there seems to be precious little here. Adelaide's always been a tidy state capital. It's ordered and somewhat controlled, including its public spaces. It was never a colony with convicts, more a new home for a different kind of immigrant, including disgraced members of the British upper crust looking for a new start and restless adventurers with fortunes to make. These people began the Adelaide 'squattocracy': the families who made their fortunes on the cattle stations and grain farms, and who still inhabit the leather armchairs of the Adelaide Club.

Adelaide was never subject to Melbourne's commercial bustle and jostling for attention, with its 19th century gold money, manufacturing pulse,and waves of boom-bust speculation. And so there's not as much to find here, ghost sign wise. But what is here -and something I never paid any attention to when I lived here - was a lot of gorgeous small but grand 1920s and deco buildings in the city's heart (many of which, surprisingly, seem to be empty or underutilised). So it was a great pleasure this morning to amble through my former city with a new perspective, and discovering things I had never known existed. Here's what I've found so far (ghost signs first):

just a tiny a laneway above public toilets

another hint...
...rewarded when explored, just behind the Adelaide Club

Not a ghost sign, but original
Waiting room in the Elders building, with details of the Elders pastoral history on display

A great wooden rococo-esque entrance, in a building that is now (and wonderfully) the Migrant Resource Centre

...and with a disused hall behind.

And here, on the wall of the State Library: a couple of ghost signs before they were ghost signs:

They already had big car workshops in 1906

Two stories in the local papers about the Lewsi & Skinner signwriting project

With the L&S site progressing well (550 jobs now up and sorted), two local papers have picked up the story this week:

Also, from next week two Victoria University students will also be basing their final Bachelor of Arts project on working on the archive. Hopefully the site will ready to showcase very soon :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Story in the local paper about the Lewis & Skinner find

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Down into the heart of hipsterville

A promising break in the weather today saw me hop on the bike, down St Georges Road and into Fitzroy.  There, I think I covered every single street and laneway between Brunswick and Nicholson Streets up to Gertrude Street, dodging the hordes of meandering hipsters converging on the Rose Street market. At the market (which I stumbled on, never been there before) I saw an artist friend with a big interest in ghost signs who has a stall there. He, like me, loves the parallel worlds above Melb's ground levels and paints versions of old industrial signs. He also mentioned that many of the older ghost signs leave traces of a vivid cobalt blue coat, some of which I saw today. Looking around him, he described the blokes as all looking like 'Ned Kelly at a court appearance' - bushy beards matched with sculpted and coiffeured hair. Ha.

Fitzroy, where I lived for many years, revealed aspects of itself I've never seen before. Hidden lanes and an old brickworks with a massive chimney. Also, a heap of Victorian warehouses and factories,  duly and predictably turned into inner-city apartments, ghost signs deliberately preserved. I took photos of them all, but this snapping lacked the sense of discovery of finding the signs unexpectedly. They were almost parodies. I wonder if developers of future new apartments will get my artist friend to paint the signs on.

And now the pix. First, Thornbury and Northcote (all in reverse order of encountering them):

Mobil sign?

Then, through North Fitzroy:

I think it said 'wallpaper'...

Almost rode right by this brilliant one, appearing like out of a fog...

Hidden away off Nicholson Street - quite the find

Cobalt blue...

And finally, the 'Roy, finishing just in time before the weather closed in again:

More cobalt blue