Advertising ghosts reappear in Sydney as buildings come down
Historic adverts are re-emerging on the side of Sydney buildings to offer a brief window into the city’s past, with old paintings exposed as neighbouring structures are pulled down.
Old banners from well-known Australian brands dating back to the 19th and early-20th centuries have reappeared, including Peters Ice Cream, offering a romantic reminder for those who can remember them in their heyday.
International names like Shell Oil are also having old painted signs uncovered thanks to city construction, with some being restored to their former glory, including a prominent Bushells Tea advert in Sydney’s historic Rocks district.
“I think Sydney is often perceived as a modern city with very little history, and I think for some Sydneysiders it (re-emerging signs) is an interesting reminder that the city has evolved over time,” Sydney historian Lisa Murray told AFP.
A brightly-coloured six-story advert for “Peapes Mens and Boys Wear”, which likely dates back to 1923 when the building it is painted on was erected, is the most recent to grab attention after an adjacent block came down as part of a redevelopment.
“The colours of the paint and the vibrancy of it is actually conserved by default, by the fact that it has been covered up,” Murray said.
The former gentlemen’s department store was a landmark in the city’s Wynyard area — a key retail hub until the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in 1932 directing traffic elsewhere, the historian added.
“A city is never static — they grow, they change, buildings go up and they go down, businesses come and go — and it is nice to sometimes be reminded of our history and reflect on how they change over time,” said Murray.