Porridge and a cup of tea before some shoe shopping…

My daily (if not twice-daily!) walks with my daughter would often take me through the streets of Fitzroy into beautiful Fitzroy North: here I would invariably stumble across more vintage signs. 

North Fitzroy Denton Furniture

While still not considering myself as yet fully addicted to sign hunting (that would come later), I would often find myself gazing up at the buildings around me, iPhone in hand, ready to snap the next great sign I would come across.

Although it is difficult to discover much information about most of the businesses and brands that are advertised in old signage, on the odd occasion I have had some luck.

North Fitzroy Filtratration & Water Softening

FITZROY NORTHNorth Fitzroy Holden People

Fitzroy North, 4 km. north-east of Melbourne, is separated from Fitzroy (South) by Alexandra Parade. Laid out in the 1850s, its other boundaries adjoin Carlton North, Brunswick, Northcote and Clifton Hill. Fitzroy North, like Fitzroy, has endured a long history as a mostly working class suburb only to find itself, in recent years, among the most popular postcodes in Victoria.

North Fitzroy BushellsBushells Tea has been around for over 125 years and has seen many changes in the Australian ‘way of life’ including the way we enjoy our tea. Gone are the polished silverware, china cups and saucers and the more formal approach to this elegant pastime but still today many Australians could not start their day or enjoy the Sunday papers without a nice cup of tea. Bushells has been an enduring brand popular with Australia’s middle-brow since its humble beginnings in a tea shop in Queensland.

North Fitzroy Old Post Office AntiquesThe Old Post Office Antiques store in St. Georges Road, North Fitzroy is still operational after over 30 years in business in the busy street and remains a go-to destination for lovers of good quality Victorian, Edwardian, Georgian and Australian Colonial furniture.

North Fitzroy Koinonia Supplies HardwareKoinonia Supplies Pty Ltd. Having always found the name of this hardware and furniture supplies store a little unique, I was thrilled to find there is a deeper meaning to the name although the exact business and the company that ran it is still a mystery. Koinonia is a transliterated form of the Greek word, κοινωνία, which means communion or joint participation. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian church. Learning the meaning behind the name makes me enjoy the sign even more and wonder about the people behind it.

North Fitzroy The Busy Bee

Ah The Busy Bee! Still one of my very favourites for the appealing name and wonderful terrace house building it graces, backing onto the Edinburgh Gardens – arguably one of Melbourne’s best and most popular parks. I wasn’t able to find anything about this little gem but I do love this sign.

North Fitzroy Toe & Ballet Shoe Manufacturers

Known as a ‘double ghost sign’ this building showing T. Peters & Co. Basket Shoe Manufrs and J. Imbesi & Sons Toe and Ballet Shoe Manufacturers. I am by no means sure of the dates of either of these signs however I did find an intriguing reference online to a business that was advertised in the Mercury and Weekly Courier in 1889. It states that ‘Peters & Co. Boot and Shoe Sellers, have opened a branch shop… in Clifton Hill’. Surely it is too much of a coincidence for these advertisements not to be related?

North Fitzroy Uncle Toby's OatsLast, but certainly not least, is a definite favourite – the Uncle Toby’s Oats sign in North Fitzroy. An iconic Australian brand that was first introduced to Aussie families in 1893 and remains a leader in the market today. Who doesn’t like starting their day with a warm bowl of porridge?!

Do you have any information on any of these businesses? I ‘d love to hear from you! Please let me know if there are any great ghost signs in your area too. I’m always on the lookout to add to my collection…


9 responses to “Porridge and a cup of tea before some shoe shopping…

  1. I just LOVE these photo’s!! It makes me realise how often we walk to get from A to B without taking in all the rustic history and beauty around us. This site inspires me to look more carefully at the buildings in my hood (Brunswick) and muse about what once was. Keep up the great work!!


  2. As someone born just after WW2, many of these signs bring back memories of my childhood when there were a lot fewer well-known brands and this made them very special. Thanks for sharing these reminders of times gone by – a very enjoyable visual sentimental journey.


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I had forgotten that, unlike today when there are innumerable brands to suit every conceivable taste and preference, in times gone by the few brands that did exist served a much wider demographic and clever advertising helped to earn them a truly special place within the hearts of the consumer. It’s wonderful to hear from someone who experienced this earlier era of marketing. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on this post.


  3. It’s amazing to see all the photos and to not have ever really realised the vintage signage in my own travels. Also amazing quality from the iPhone in hand!! Really amazing to discover through your blog so thanks for the enlightenment 🙂

    – Ashleigh


  4. Beautiful shots! I used to live around north Fitzroy and recognise many of locations. Thanks so much for sharing, it brought back some great memories!


    • Thank you so much! It is such a wonderful old area. Although I have a large number of signs shot in Fitzroy, I’m sure there are still those hidden away down all the little alleys and back streets that I would love to go back to sometime soon and find!


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