Historic advertising

Station billboards preserved as part of Sydney's rail heritage

Vintage advertising at Museum Station of the Akubra Hats, the only standardised Felt Halts made in Australia.
Hats off to a bygone age - vintage advertising at Museum Station

Posters, billboards, brochures and other forms of advertising have been used by the NSW railways as a means of communication and marketing since the earliest days of railway activity in the state.

Railway stations were, and continue to be decorated with:

  • lavish posters
  • street hoardings
  • timetables
  • newspapers
  • travel guides
  • and dining room menus.

Station billboards are used as a place to promote the benefits of rail travel and the services provided by the NSW Railways.

Museum station conserves the legacy of historic advertising

View of historic advertising at Museum Station
Historic advertising on display at Museum Station

At Museum Station in Sydney's CBD, Sydney Trains also conserves the legacy of historic commerical advertising as part of the operational station.

Original signage and authentic reproductions add to the ambience of this historic underground station (as demonstrated in the picture to the right).

Following World War II, production of consumer goods blossomed as people's disposable income increased. The volume of visual advertising increased with it.

The signage forms an important part of the station and contributes to its heritage significance.

Railway posters

Several railway posters produced during the hey-day of railway advertising between the 1930s and 50s are now recongised as some of the best examples of advertising art produced in Australia from this period.

Go By Train vintage New South Wales Railways poster
The historic railway poster from c.1930 is of the Stonequarry Viaduct at Picton, showing the bridge in dramatic proportions. Constructed in 1867, this viaduct is nearly 150 years old and is still in use today.
Take a closer look at the Go by Train poster

Where can I find out more?

Many of the posters are now held by the NSW State Records.