With the Japanese bombing of Darwin and the submarine attack in Sydney Harbour, the perceived threat of war in Australia was at its highest in 1942. In readiness, the NSW State government provided air raid shelters for the travelling public in places like railway stations. In early 2014 a rare poster directing the way to one such air raid shelter was discovered by workers carrying out refurbishment works at Town Hall Station.
Printed on paper and glued to a painted metal beam, the poster was in poor condition when discovered. It had been overpainted numerous times during its 75-year history and there were various losses in the paper as well as the paint surrounding it.
ICS was commissioned by Sydney Trains to treat and stabilise the sign, as well as provide a solution for its display and interpretation. Surface dirt and paint stripper residue was removed from the sign and the surrounding area.
After conservation a Perspex case was installed around the sign to protect it, and an interpretive panel displayed alongside it. These measures should ensure that the sign is preserved into the future and acts as an important reminder of this period of Australia’s wartime history.
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