Top 10 strange signs I saw in Australia

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you chuckle. Other times, it’s the huge billboards.

When I visited Australia for a three-week trip in November 2008, I was impressed by many things: the scenic beauty, the culture, the funny accents, etc. But perhaps most amusing to my Yankee eyes were the signs. From Sydney to Perth, Darwin to Adelaide, a number of signs caught my eye. Some were due to cultural misunderstandings or differences in slang. Others were intentionally amusing.

Because I’m sure you all want to see my vacation photos, here’s the “Top 10 strange signs I saw in Australia.”

First, the locations where photos were taken:

All photos by John Baker.

Baskin Robbins in Sydney asking diners to beat the Christmas heat

10. A Baskin-Robbins in Sydney advertising that its product will help beat the Christmas heat. Not intentionally funny, but it does highlight certain hemispherical differences.

Writing on street advising pedestrians to look right

9. In tourist-heavy spots such as Sydney, it makes sense to remind pedestrians that Australians drive on the left side of the road. Therefore, cars will be coming from your right as you cross the street. (It's bad news when tourists are run over.)

Sign saying a train will scatter your remains if you're on the tracks

8. This trackside sign in Fremantle, Western Australia, is designed to show the consequences of walking on the tracks. Maybe Caltrain should use this ad agency.

Plaque saying space is reserved for a plaque

7. Let's hope somebody does something important so we can fill this spot on the Perth train station platform with an interesting plaque.

Sign advertising that the rock in the center of town is the evacuation point for Cook.

6. The official population of Cook, South Australia, is two. Yes, two. Hopefully there's room around the evacuation point for everyone.

Billboard with Joe DiMaggio for a show company

5. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? Apparently to Adelaide to sell shoes, which is funny because I doubt more than five people in Oz (other than visiting Yanks, pardon the pun) could identify Joltin' Joe.

Bus stop sign with 37 routes listed

4. Mass transit done right in Perth. Of course every bus but the one you want stops here.

Sign for Barrack Street modified to say "Barack Street"

3. This picture of a Perth streetsign was taken on Nov. 5, 2008, which thanks to the vagarity of the International Date Line, was Nov. 4 — Election Day — in the United States. Apparently new President-Elect Obama was popular enough that the "Barrack Street" sign was changed to "Barack Street."

Sign on side of building saying it is a "general purpose building"

2. When building namers at the University of Western Australia get lazy.

Sign advising "no standing" by airport

1. "Standing" means parking in Australia. Still, one wonders just how low planes must get if you can't stand by the highway in Albany, Western Australia.


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