Stefan Schutt on the Lewis & Skinner signwriting archive

Speaker(s): Stefan Schutt

  • Date recorded: 25 Feb 2016

  • Duration: 22:13

'Living in cities is about new things happening all the time – including a process of destruction'

– Stefan Schutt

About this video

Intrigued by abandoned documents found at a Footscray demolition site, Dr Stefan Schutt started piecing together the forgotten story of local signwriting firm Lewis & Skinner, whose handiwork adorned Victorian milk bars, service stations, railway hoardings and offices in the first half of the 20th century.

Stefan discusses his online Lewis & Skinner archive which documents historic signwriting work for iconic Australian businesses like Cadbury's, Mobil and Dunlop, as well as those which no longer exist, including Robur tea.

He talks about the contemporary interest in ghost signs, also known as 'fading ads', and the insights they offer into the social history of their time. 

This talk was held on 25 February 2016 as part of the Library's Creative Conversations series.

More to explore


Dr Stefan Schutt was awarded a Berry Family Fellowship in 2012, which allowed him to research the Lewis & Skinner company and the social history of its operations. He has since created the Lewis & Skinner online archive of documents connected with the company, organised by suburb and area, as well as a blog exploring the stories behind these and other ghost signs across Australia.