Demolition Reveals 1911 Garage Wall Ad, King Street Newtown

This Tuesday’s and Saturday’s Phantom Dancer features Spotlight Bands’ ‘Band of the Week’ for 31 January 1942. It’s Sammy Kaye, over the Blue Network

His best-selling record that got him the ‘Band of the Week’ gig? A ditty entitled ‘Remember Pearl Harbour’

Turns out NBC interrupted a Sammy Kaye program to break the news of Pearl Harbour being bombed, 7 December 1941. Hence the message song. And like all message songs, well – you be the judge

See the full play list for this week’s Phantom Dancer after these exciting pics

That’s right, photos. Instead of a Video of the Week, I’m posting some exciting archeological photos I took for you just a few hours ago.

There was a fire near me recently. A dry cleaners burnt to the ground. The building has been demolished. And behind a demolished wall a well-preserved painted advertisement has been revealed

I guessed by the artwork and fonts that the ad was from 1911. A quick look at the Sands Directory tells me I’m about right. The Sands Directory was an annual listing of everyone who lived in Sydney with their addresses and occupations. The last Sands was published in 1932

In 1910, according to Sands, the site of the demolished dry cleaners was the Newtown Carriage Works — Arthur Dunn, proprietor. In 1911, it became H. Phippen’s motor garage. He was a motor engineer. By 1912, Phippen had left and Arthur Dunn’s Coachbuilding business had returned. Or, perhaps, between 1911 – 1914, the site was shared between the coach building and garage businesses – new technology piggybacking on the old. By 1915 the site was occupied by an upholsterer

Because of a locked wire gate I couldn’t get a full shot of this huge, vibrant ad from the street. So below is a series of shots covering the entire wall I took from the footpath. In this first photo, note ‘Cars for Hire’ and ‘Waratah Motor Spirit’. What would have been the demand for Car hire in 1911? Was H. Phippen ahead of his time? Did low demand beat his business? It’s not listed in the Sands Directory for 1912

1911 Garage Wall Ad - King St, Newtown
1911 Garage Wall Ad - King St, Newtown

Waratah Motor Spirit appears to have still been around in 1925 when you could buy it from twelve outlets around Sydney, according to an ad in the Sydney Morning Herald dated 28 Jan 1925. As you can see in the bottom of the wall ad, Waratah, was a product of the Neptune Oil Company. Neptune Oil began in Australia in 1905. A motoring website says Neptune’s Waratah brand was introduced in 1917. This ad proves the motoring historian wrong. The site became an upholsterers in 1915. An upholsterer wouldn’t be putting up an all-weather sign visible to passing motorists for Motor Spirit

Perdriau Tyres Sign - is this the earlist extant?
Perdriau Tyres Sign - is this the earliest extant?

Perdriau Tyres? Henry Perdriau entered the rubber importing business in Sydney in 1888. His Perdriau Rubber Co. Ltd. started manufacturing rubber parts in 1904 and finally merged with Dunlop in 1929 to form Dunlop Perdriau Rubber Co. Ltd. Could this be the earliest Perdriau wall sign extant? A Perdriau glass lantern slide ad from 1924 – 29 exists in the ANU Digital Collection in Canberra

Detail of the Waratah Motor Spirit sign
Detail of the Waratah Motor Spirit sign

It’s hard to see in the photo below, but on site I could just make out the phone number L1905. L stood for 5 and was the area prefix for Newtown and surrounding Inner West Sydney suburbs. Sydney phone numbers used one and two letter prefixes until the mid-1960s. The code was: A = 1, B = 2, F = 3, J = 4, L = 5, M = 6, U = 7, W = 8, X = 9, Y = 0

Garage and Phone Number L1905
Garage and Phone Number L1905

Some more pics. The sign-writing is of an extremely high standard. The Waratah is a beautiful piece of commercial art. The amount of effort involved in sign writing such a huge space by hand is quite extraordinary, especially if they used, as my grandfather did about the same time as a house painter, individually mixed paints. My grandfather would crush blocks of pigment with a mortar & pestle and mix the powder with linseed oil and I guess some kind of fixer. I particularly like the blue used in the top band of the sign. It’s a colour you don’t see now. The uneven durability of hand-made paint is revealed in the preservation of the different colours. The green lettering for the phone number and the red fill for the Waratah are the most deteriorated

Having been protected by the sun and weather for almost a hundred years by a brick wall, this is a most amazingly intact piece of commercial pre-WWI art

A new building will be erected on the site. Will the sign survive another 100 years? After the photos you’ll see the play list for this week’s Phantom Dancer on 2SER

Here’s this week’s Phantom Dancer play list. Enjoy the show on your radio!

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney

Tuesday 29 November 2011
12 noon – 1:30pm (+11 hours GMT)

Live stream on

Saturday 3 December 2011
12 noon – 1:30pm (+11 hours GMT)

Live stream on

The Wireless
Lobby Lud
Set 1
Theme (I’ll See You In My Dreams) + Got The Sun In The Morning
Leighton Noble Orchestra (voc) Helen Lynn
‘One Night Stand’
Starlight Roof
Waldorf Astoria Hotel

AFRS Re-broadcast
21 Jun 1946

Moonlight Serenade (theme) + At Sundown

Glenn Miller Orchestra
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle
Oct 1939

Intro + Careless Hands

Frank Siantra and the hit Paraders (voc) Axel Stordahl Orchestra

‘Your Hit Parade’
20 Apr 1949

What Will I Tell My Heart? + Blue Skies (Close)

Jo Stafford (voc) Victor Young Orchestra
‘Your Melody Hour’
5 Aug 1951
Set 2
Maramao, Perche Sei Morto?
Maria Jottini & Trio Lescano with Orchestra
Comes Love
Paul Whiteman Orchestra
‘Chesterfield Show’
9 Aug 1939
Birmingham Special + Theme
Glen Gray & The Casa Loma Orchestra
‘GI Jive’
AFRS Hollywood
Blue Skies + Close
Bob Chester
‘One Night Stand’
Panther Room
Hotel Sherman
AFRS Re-broadcast
8 Oct 1944
Set 3

Open + Elmers Tune + Let’s Have Another Cup Of Coffee + Remember Pearl Harbour + Close
Sammy Kaye Orchestra (voc) Band & The 3 Kaydettes
‘Spotlight Bands’
Blue Network
Washington DC
21 Feb 1942
Set 4

Blue Room Jump
Count Basie Orchestra
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln
May 1944
Honeysuckle Rose
Harry James Orchestra (g) Allen Reuss
Palladium Ballroon
1-2-3-4 Jump
Woody Herman Orchestra
‘Woody Herman Show’
27 Sep 1944
Flying Home
Benny Goodman Quintet
AFRS Hollywood
Set 5

Eine Insel Aus Traeumen Geboren
Hans Rehmstedt Orchestra (voc) Rudi Schuricke
Comm Rec
Dec 1938
Les Brown Orchestra (voc) Billy Eckstine
Radio Transcription
Sep 1949
Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues
Lena Horne (voc) Fletcher Henderson Orchestra
AFRS Hollywood
To Each His Own
Claude Thornhill Orchestra
Steel Pier
Atlantic City NJ
24 Aug 1956
Set 6
Ben Webster Quintet
C Jam Blues
Duke Ellington Orchestra
‘Date With The Duke’
Paradise Theatre
ABC Detroit
19 May 1945
Buddy Rich Quartet
7 Nov 1958

Phantom Dancer CD and Greg Poppleton Voiceovers

Hello Radio Loungers,

I’m nearing the end of rebuilding my website, home of Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Dance Band – 1920s & 1930s Hot Jazz & Swing

Lots of new pics and film clips still to go up, but here are two newies I’d like to share with you

This first one is a slide show of mostly recent live band photos taken by professional photographers. Most are by the stunningly talented photogapher, Janine Kaye

The white background shots are by Robert Stow, Hornsby Arts, for a music mag shoot

The soundtrack to the clip is from the Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band album “The Phantom Dancer: 14 Swing Era Songs of 1926 – 1939 in Radio Review” available at CDBaby for US $9.99 (mp3) and US $12.97 (CD with 8-page glossy booklet of song facts and historic 1920s & 30s photos from my archives)

The second clip is a voice reel of commercial radio ads I’ve been doing for a major radio network. I hope you enjoy them. And that’s my current actor headshot in the mix. While I freelance as a voiceover, my film & TV agent is Woodburn-Sweitzer Management


Greg Poppleton on 702 ABC Local Radio (2BL)

Greg Poppleton, Sydney’s authentic 1920s & 30s swing singer and long time swing broadcaster will be the guest of Robbie Buck on 702 ABC Local Radio, Monday 3 May at 8:20pm

Greg will be talking to Robbie about 25 years of his swing radio show The Phantom Dancer which plays swing, jazz & dance from live 1920s – 60s radio & TV every Tuesday 12 noon on 107.3 2SER-FM in Sydney, repeated every Sunday at 6:30am

The Phantom Dancer is live-streamed on

Greg will be bringing in 5 of his favourite live swing & jazz tracks from live 1920s – 60s radio & TV

You’ll also be able to dance to Greg’s Bakelite Dance band the Saturday before (1 May) in the Castle Lounge of Penrith RSL 2 – 5pm. Free

In the band will be Greg Poppleton (singing) Graeme Conlon (ex Billy Fields) guitar, Darcy Wright (ex Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Cleo Laine…) double bass & Bob Gillespie (ex Glenn Miller Orchestra, musical director for Lovelace Watkins) drums

Greg Poppleton. Photo: Robert Stow
Greg Poppleton. Photo: Robert Stow


Phantom Dancer at Powerhouse

Hear the Phantom Dancer’s 1920s-50s radio mix at 2 of the Global Common Ground Events at these venues

1. State Library of Queensland
When 6pm, Fri 2 Oct
Where Queensland Terrace, level 2
The event in Brisbane will consist of a large projection onto the screen in the State Library’s stunning Queensland Terrace using a slideshow of content from the Commons on Flickr accounts that is curated by its community of users – making the Flickr Commons go ‘live’ through a connected slideshow. This special event will include images from Picture Queensland – the State Library of Queensland’s image library and a soundtrack of live popular music off vintage 1920s – 50s radio put together by Greg Poppleton – The Phantom Dancer

Light refreshments will be served.

2. Powerhouse Museum
Forecourt, 500 Harris St, Ultimo
(if raining) Level 1 cafe, Macarthur St, Ultimo
Saturday 3 October
6:30 – 9pm

What is Common Ground?
Common Ground is a global meet up celebrating the Commons on Flickr to be held by as many of the institutions in the Commons. This will consist of a projection onto the participating institutions building at night (or suitable day-time location) using a slideshow of content from the Commons on Flickr accounts that is curated by you, our community. This will be hosted on the weekend of 2nd – 3rd October across the globe (albeit time-differences). Making the Flickr Commons go live through a connected slideshow. You will get to meet the staff behind the Commons and we will get to know you.

Thanks for voting on the slideshow it is now currently being prepared for the Common Ground event.

We can’t wait to meet you!
Our event will be taking place on the forecourt of the Museum on Saturday the 3rd October. This is an open event similar to an open cinema experience. Event time is 6.30pm til 9pm

What’s happening at the Powerhouse on the 3rd October?

You need to bring something comfortable to sit on and a picnic basket.

There will be coffee and cakes available on the night through Cafexpress.

2ser’s Phantom Dancer has mixed some amazing tunes to accompany the historic images.

Common Ground Photomontage

Free fine art print giveaways

Our award winning book Then and now: stories from the Commons will be available to purchase with special fine art print included-only available on the night.

If it rains on the night the event will still happen but will be relocated to the level one café. Entrance is down the side of Macarthur Street.

Our guest speakers on the night

Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator Curator work: looking after historic photograph collections at the Powerhouse Museum.

Matthew Connell, Principal Curator Stories between the frames.

Bob Meade, Flickr member Turning history into a detective story using photographs.

Paul Hagon, Flickr member and Web Developer National Library, Canberra The Commons vs Street view.

Rob Manson from Common Layers – changing the way you see Reality.

Sandra McEwen, Principal Curator and Ellen Forsyth, State Library NSW Flickr Commons staff member will be available to discuss the photographic collections with you at one of the tables.

Information from Powerhouse & SLQ websites