Ghost Signs of Sydney

My interest was certainly piqued when I saw an article from the Sydney Morning Herald one evening about a ghost sign that had been unexpectedly uncovered on the side of a building in George Street, Sydney. In the next week, I made time to see it for myself and snap a few pictures before it is covered over once again! Having seen this one, I realised that there may be more around that I had never noticed. So, I started looking up. Sure enough, I found another two that I’d not really noticed before. Perhaps you haven’t either, so I’ve included a little bio of each of these in this post. I’m sure there are more out there though, so if you’re heading into Sydney CBD or The Rocks keep your eyes out, you might find other ghosts of Sydney’s past!

Peapes Mens and Boys Wear РGeorge Street, Sydney 

Peapes Menswear

Peapes Mens and Boys Wear operated from 1866 until 1971, and much of this time operated out of this building on the intersection of George St and Hunter. But this massive advertisment was only discovered in the last two months when the neighbouring building was knocked down. The epitome of ‘ghost sign’ in my opinion! Since that building was constructed in the 1960’s, the Peapes sign must be older. In fact, according the article written by Dr Lisa Murray, the advertisement can be dated to even earlier. A 1935 photograph in the State Library collection pictures part of the sign we can see here. So this ghost sign could date to even further back in Sydney’s past!

Rex Simpsons Fine Menswear – Pitt Street, Sydney

Rex Simpsons Fine Menswear

I spotted this ghost sign after happily snapping pictures of the Peapes sign. On Pitt Street, the ghost sign for Rex Simpsons Fine Clothing for Men dates to the 1950’s. Rex Simpson’s operated out of this building from post World War Two. Its tenure there became synonymous with the building which is now known as Simpson House.

Bushells Tea – Harrington Street, The Rocks

Bushell's Tea

If you make your way into the city bypassing The Rocks and into Wynyard, it’s hard to miss the Bushells’ Tea sign decorating the wall of the building behind Science House. This ghost sign was painted sometime in the 60’s or 70’s and was conserved and restored in 2001. The building on which it features is heritage listed and was the location of the Bushells tea factory from 1925 until 1974 when the Australian business moved premises.

Want to Know More?

Have you spotted other ghost signs around Sydney? Let us know in a comment!

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