In books lies the soul of the whole past time when the articulate audible voice of the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream
– Inscription on the Mitchell Library building, Sydney New South Wales, Australia from The Hero as Man of Letters by Thomas Carlyle, 1840
[Taken from my Writer’s Notebooks from the early 1990s]
By Marcus D. Niski
There is something elegant and peculiarly captivating about neon signs: they have a certain memorizing quality about them no matter how seemingly mundane their messages might be.
My earliest memory of a viewing my first neon sign was that of the ‘The Skipping Girl’ one of Melbourne’s most famous visual landmarks – in reality an elaborate promotional sign for a brand of table vinegar – located along Victoria Street, Abbotsford in the city’s inner suburbs.
While always very low key about it, my father in fact spent some of his early working life in Australia as a graphic designer of neon signs designing several landmark signs as well as later printing light box signage for national advertisers.
Many years ago in the 1990s whilst living in Sydney, I took this photograph of the St James Station entrance located on the northern side of Hyde Park. It has always remained one of my favorite photographs of neons given the electric blue and red hue set against the mundane entrance to one of Sydney’s famous inner-city stations.
Image © Marcus D. Niski 1995-2017
Melbourne’s famous ‘Skipping Girl’ landmark: