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Ghost signs

Dr Stefan Schutt is documenting ‘ghost signs’ around Melbourne. That led to thinking about signs in Port Melbourne.

Port Melbourne’s most splendid signs would have to be those that adorned the UDL building (now the id apartments) on Pickles St. They were painted by sign writer Keith Martin. UDL was a successor company to Joshua Bros Distillery which made brandy, whisky and rum here. More on Joshua Bros another day – this post is about signs.

It is perhaps unlikely that in today’s more alcohol sensitive times that such overt advertising would be considered acceptable. The mural was required to be preserved in the redevelopment to apartments. The photograph below shows them in all their splendour – uninterrupted by window openings.

Advertising signage on the former UDL site, Pickles St, Port Melbourne, Alison Kelly collection

The sign below is painted on the rear of the service station on the corner of Salmon St and Williamstown Road. Can anyone tell what product Diamond Hudson was?

Ghost sign, Salmon St

An all time favourite is the barely discernible Rootes sign on the roof of the former car makers in Salmon St (south side) between Williamstown Road and Plummer Street. Sharing this photograph with you even though you can probably barely make out the sign – a better photo taken from above would show it more clearly.

former Rootes factory, Salmon St

Schutt says the signs

‘remind us that the places we inhabit have former lives. We can easily forget that we’re not the first to navigate these streets and live in these buildings.’ (Age 28 September 2013)

Do you know of of any other signs of interest in Port Melbourne?

Sources and further information

Ghost signs exhibition on line Ghost Signs : Fading Ads from a bygone era


  • Carl Smith
    Posted August 3, 2017 3.50 pm 0Likes

    I like what Schutt said that it ‘remind us that the places we inhabit have former lives. We can easily forget that we’re not the first to navigate these streets and live in these buildings.’ These signs add to the history of the city. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Geoff
    Posted February 18, 2022 3.47 pm 0Likes

    The “Diamond Hudson” sign – it actually reads “Diamond T” on the top line, the bottom part of the T has become indistinct. Diamond T was a brand of truck from the US and “Hudson” was an American car brand. As a footnote, Hudson became part of the AMC (American Motors Corporation) group and some AMC cars were assembled at the AMI works in Port Melbourne.

    • David Thompson
      Posted February 18, 2022 3.51 pm 0Likes

      Thank you Geoff. Thank you for pointing out the “T” in “Diamond T”. So now we know, American trucks and American cars.

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We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.