100 Sydney Ghost Signs

With the reappearance of the Peapes sign at Wynyard has come a wave of interest in Sydney’s ghost signs. A gift to the city wanderer who thinks to look up, these traces of a city past lurk on the facades and side walls of city commercial buildings and former suburban grocers. They are uncovered during demolitions and disappear again as new buildings are constructed. Some are painted over, others are repainted and restored, but most continue to slowly fade until they become indecipherable.

Over the five years I have been writing Mirror Sydney, I have recorded as many as I have come across, to make up this gallery of 100 Sydney ghost signs from the city and the suburbs. Some remain, others have disappeared, and others will, with time, reveal themselves.

For more on ghost signs, I recommend Nick Gadd’s excellent blogs on Melbourne and Mildura, the Ghost Signs Australia blog, Ghost Signs UK and the books Signs of the Times by Geoff Hocking, and the forthcoming Signs of Australia by Brady Michaels and Dale Campisi.


9 Comments on “100 Sydney Ghost Signs”

  1. Andrew Burns says:

    Hi Vanessa,

    The SMH article on ghost signs said you have a book coming out next month. Is this true? (I hope so)


  2. Fantastic work Vanessa, they’re so familiar and so sad thank you (the book’s now on our list :-)).

  3. joannekarcz says:

    Hi Vanessa. I enjoy seeing Sydney through your eyes. On my explorations of Sydney suburbs (www.travelwithjoanne.com) I have come across some great signs. I never knew they had the name ‘ghost signs’. You may be interested in the ones I remember off the top of my head – in Windsor, Summer Hill and Surry Hills 1. Joanne

    • Vanessa Berry says:

      Thanks Joanne, I’ve come across a few in those places, Surry Hills especially. There’s some good Windsor ones, I’ll have to do another 100 and include them!

  4. nickgadd says:

    A fabulous collection of signs Vanessa! So many great signs and lots of names I’d never seen before. I was pleased to see ETA peanut butter, one of my local favourites, popping up in Sydney. I think my favourite though is Rex Simpson with the ghostly figure. Thanks for the mention, and big congrats on your book, I can’t wait to read it.

    • Vanessa Berry says:

      Thanks Nick – it was satisfying to put the collection together as Sydney’s not known for its ghost signs… but they are around. Rex Simpson is perfect – a ghost within a ghost. I’ve been meaning to send you a note – I loved your Meanjin article! Am coming to Melbourne to launch Mirror Sydney at the end of October so will let you know when 🙂

  5. nickgadd says:

    Great, I’ll be there!

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