Melbourne’s famous Skipping Girl sign sat atop a building in Victoria Street Abbotsford for many years. Believed to be Melbourne’s first animated neon sign, it was an advertisement for Skipping Girl Vinegar. Nicknamed ‘Little Audrey’ the young skipper depicts a design inspired by eight year old Kitty Minogue ‘whose brother Jim won the competition to design a sign for the Skipping girl vinegar makers in 1915.The sign was placed on top of Nycander & Co’s Skipping Girl Vinegar factory, opposite the end of Burnley Street, by Electric Signs (later Whiteway Neon) in 1936. It remained there until the demolition of the building in 1968 necessitated its removal and it was sold for £100. Public outcry was such that a replica was created by Mauri brothers, who had bought the vinegar factory in the 60s and had since moved to Altona. The new sign was reinstated atop the Crusader Electroplating factory, about 100 metres away from its original position. Comedian Barry Humphries located the original, which had been sold by Whelan the Wrecker to an Abbotsford car dealer, in 1974 and composed a song ‘Ode to the Skipping Girl’ in her honour.
In May 2008, an appeal was launched to ‘Help Audrey skip again’. The iconic Melbourne sign was ‘included on the Victorian Heritage Register of the State’s most significant places and objects. Having fallen into disrepair and non-operational for more than a decade, National Trust Chairman, Dr Graeme Blackman, launched the appeal to raise funds for Audrey’s repair and future maintenance.
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