Photo Essay: Billboards of a Bygone Era

There were times in Melbourne’s past where streets weren’t always lit up with flashy billboards and advertising messages. Purveyors, professionals, retailers and manufacturers relied on a paintbrush and buckets of paint to advertise businesses and products. Even some street signs were painted on pillars around the city.

Many of these messages were painted on sides of buildings or the façade of shops. As Melbourne’s buildings were rebuilt or replaced over the decades, these canvases were either removed, demolished or covered up.

In our busy lives, we should stop and wander a little slower so we can find glimpses, remnants, of these painted billboards before they disappear completely. Even some businesses in the present day have reverted to this style of advertising and painting their own walls with fetching imagery.    

Have you spotted any billboards from your city’s past? Or, perhaps you’ve spotted a billboard while travelling through a country town?

Elizabeth Street in Melbourne's CBD

Elizabeth Street in Melbourne's CBD

A quintessential Aussie symbol found on Flinders Street in Melbourne's CBD

A quintessential Aussie symbol found on Flinders Street in Melbourne's CBD

A street sign found near Queensbridge Street in Melbourne's CBD

A street sign found near Queensbridge Street in Melbourne's CBD

Beaufort Hotel on Albert Street in the country town of Beaufort in Victoria

Beaufort Hotel on Albert Street in the country town of Beaufort in Victoria

Vespa House on Johnston Street in the inner city suburb of Collingwood

Vespa House on Johnston Street in the inner city suburb of Collingwood