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Signs of Australia: Vintage signs from the city to the outback

Photographer Brady Michaels travelled 40,000km throughout the country in a year to capture iconic and “distinctly Australian” signage for his book, Signs of Australia: Vintage signs from the city to the outback.

Signs of Australia Book

Once upon a simpler time, hand-painted and hand-crafted signs brought colour and vibrancy to Australian towns and cities — advertising everything from dining rooms, milk bars, and CWA halls to Peter’s ice cream, oatmeal, stout, Chinese restaurants, and Shelley’s famous drinks. Now faded and slowly disappearing, they tell the story of life over two centuries, recording a distinctly Australian vernacular language.

A keen photographer of the everyday, Brady Michaels has recorded an impressive array of signs from across Australia — from the earliest ads for household goods and services, to more recent but now defunct video lending libraries and internet cafés.

These beautiful nostalgic images are accompanied by brief commentary by Dale Campisi, who ponders the significance of the fading and disappearing signs — artful, kitsch and at times hilarious.

Brady Michaels and Dale Campisi have written several Australian travel guides and history books, including Go Explore Melbourne (2009), The Eating and Drinking Guide to Melbourne (2011), and Melbourne: A City of Villages (2015). In 2016 they published two colour-in books with NewSouth, A day in Melbourne and A day in Hobart. They also founded popular illustrated Australian history publisher Arcade Publications.

If you would like to order the book [$35 + postage], contact John Rigby at john@lettercraft.com.au for an order form.