AGRI-TYPE: Metal nameplates on farm properties in south-east Australia

Anthony Cahalan

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


    The photographic examples and their provenance will result in an exhibition about the project at the Museum of the Riverina in March 2011. An international publisher will be approached to publish a book about the project as a way of documenting the images and providing information to interested typographers and cultural historians.The paper concludes with some further outcomes of the research such as using the body of photographic work as a source of inspiration for the design of contemporary digital typefaces based on the lettering from the farm nameplates. In addition, it is hoped that the process of research and the methodology will be used to uncover the secrets of other typographic phenomena in regional Australia.This paper presents a case study of a research project which investigates the history, meaning, evolution and significance of the three-dimensional metal letterforms on gates identifying farm properties in south-east Australia.Accompanied by examples photographed by the author, this paper surveys the variety of corporate and personalized typefaces used in the nameplates. In keeping with the theme of the ATypI conference, the paper addresses the cultural, historical and social significance of this agricultural typography as part of the material fabric of everyday life. It considers whether the nameplates represent wealth or class, if they are simply symbols of welcome to visitors or reflective of the farming families' pride of ownership of their Australian land.The paper reviews the design and manufacture of the nameplates, including those produced by the property owner in the farm's workshop, others by a local craftsperson in a foundry and those brought from afar. The significance of the names is discussed, with some harking back to English or Irish properties of ancestors, some representing family or Aboriginal place names and others relating to the physical geography surrounding the property. Avenues of research and sources of knowledge are addressed in order to bring the project to a successful outcome. Speaking about the project on local radio aims to stimulate interest from local listeners and thereby gather stories through networks of local families, historians and historical societies. Interviews to record histories associated with the use or production of selected nameplates produce recollections and reminiscences that will lead to other people who are able to provide further information.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationATypI 2010
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Word In Dublin
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    EventAssociation Typographique Internationale (ATypI) 2010 - Dublin, Ireland
    Duration: 08 Sept 201012 Sept 2010


    ConferenceAssociation Typographique Internationale (ATypI) 2010


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