Sailors Rest sign included in Victorian Heritage Register

Geelong’s iconic Sailor’s Rest sign has been included in the Victorian Heritage Register.
The sign, mounted on the parapet of the King Edward VII Sailors’ Rest building, is a rare surviving original electric bulb sign in Victoria.

Preceding neon signage, bulb signs were the first type of electric signage and this one was
installed in 1926 to attract more sailors to the welfare organisation influenced by the
Temperance Movement.

The King Edward VII Sailors’ Rest building was built in Geelong to a design by the Geelong
architect, Percy Everett in 1912.

The Sailors’ Rest was an evangelical temperance organisation designed to provide welfare services to sailors, to attempt to divert them away from alcohol and other temptations of the town and to encourage them to return to or continue to practice Christianity.

The animated sign originally operated with flashing letters and words and was intended to be
very noticeable from Yarra and Cunningham piers as the sailors disembarked.

The sign was built by the nearby Melbourne Electric Supply Company and donated to the
Sailors’ Rest by Howard Hitchcock former mayor of Geelong and Chairman of the Sailors’
Rest Committee.

The sign is understood to have ceased operation from the 1950s until 1997 when it again
operated but without animation.

The Sailors’ Rest Electric Sign is socially significant for its association with seafarers visiting Victorian ports from the 1850s to today.


For further information and other media queries please call Kerry Taylor on 0419 568 949