WA’s most iconic sign, the ‘Dingo Flour Mill’ in North Fremantle has just completed it’s facelift. After almost 80 years of exposure to coastal winds, the sheeting of the ‘Great Southern Roller Mill’ is replaced, and with it a new sign-written dingo to match the original.
In the early 1920’s a 15-year old lino-cut designer called Ron Marshall was asked to produce a drawing of a Dingo for a local flour brand. Stamped on all the bags and emblazoned on a water tower above the main factory in North Fremantle, it wasn’t until 1940 that Les Nash was employed to draw the iconic logo that most WA people know as Fremantle’s Dingo Flour Sign.
Originally built as an addition to the Great Southern Roller Flour Mill building in 1936-37, the Dingo on the mill was interpreted by Mr Les Nash of Davies sign services in late 1940, signwriting a black Dingo on a yellow background (WA’s state colours) similar to existing Dingo brands already used on the premises. A few short years later, with World War 2 on Australia’s doorstep, the Australian Defence Force had the Dingo painted out grey so as not to hide the landmark from any potential invaders. It was re-painted in late 1946 by Parnell Signs using the faint outline of the old artwork that was beginning to show through the fading paint. Legend has it that Alan Bond used to tell visitors to WA that he wrote the sign, a legend that has not been fully counted out…
Ex-Compac employee, Leanne, remembers her grandfather, Keith Pittaway, recounting stories of signwriting the flour mill while he was working at Parnell Signs in the 1940’s and 50’s.
“It is said, Grandpop re-signwrote the dingo logo, (my aunty) guesses it would have been perhaps late 1940’s or early 1950’s … Alan Bond was his apprentice at the time. And on asking Grandpop (who has since passed away, a long time ago), he said yes, “Bondy was my apprentice – he was a useless little b*stard!” (or words to that effect!) Keith worked for Fred Parnell (passed away long ago) at Parnell Signs in Fremantle, the business was taken over by his son, Ross Parnell, but now the shop is closed”.