Read media coverage on the Skipping Girl sign and the restoration project


News - Skipping girl shines, Melbourne Leader, 20 Feb 2012

ABBOTSFORD'S iconic skipping girl has a new spring in her step. Little Audrey celebrated her 75th anniversary of skipping on the Melbourne skyline with the installation of 27 solar panels to power her sustainably into the future.

General manager of marketing and retail sales at AGL Mark Brownfield said it was great to see Audrey "skipping on sunshine".

News - Iconic Skipping Girl sign goes solar, Nic Price, The Leader 17 Feburary 2012

Primary school students from the area helped promote the switch to solar for the iconic Skipping Girl sign.

ABBOTSFORD'S iconic skipping girl has a new sunny spring in her step.

Little Audrey celebrated her 75th anniversary of skipping on the Melbourne skyline with the installation of 27 solar panels to power her sustainably into the future.

General manager of marketing and retail sales at AGL Mark Brownfield said it was great to see Audrey "skipping on sunshine".

"As you can imagine skipping all night takes a lot of energy, so AGL thought it appropriate to present Little Audrey with the ultimate gift and give her added endurance through AGL solar power," Mr Brownfield said.

Constructed in the mid 1930's, Skipping Girl was Australia's first animated neon sign.

AGL took over the icon in 2009 and restored the structure and the sign's neon tubing.

http://melbourne-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/iconic-skipping-girl-sign-goes-solar/

Media Release - Little Audrey to skip on sunshine, 16 February 2012

Little Audrey, Melbourne's oldest little girl, was honoured today with a fitting tribute in celebration of 75 years of skipping on the Melbourne skyline. To commemorate the milestone, AGL Energy Limited (AGL) has bestowed an enduring birthday gift to the long adored Melbourne icon, announcing the installation of 27 solar panels to sustainably power Little Audrey long into her future.

Mark Brownfield, General Manager Marketing and Retail Sales at AGL said AGL's gift was a wonderful tribute to a cherished figure in Melbourne's cultural history. "As you can imagine skipping all night takes a lot of energy, so AGL thought it appropriate to present Little Audrey with the ultimate gift and give her added endurance through AGL solar power," said Mr Brownfield.

Since responding to public appeal in 2009, AGL took Little Audrey under its wing and fully restored the sign to its current glory, repairing the structure and neon tubing. AGL have been powering her through carbon-neutral, renewable energy ever since.

"Our plan has always been to transition Little Audrey to solar power and from today Melburnians will witness her skipping on sunshine.

"AGL actively supports the communities in which it operates and we are passionate about this local project, which demonstrates an innovative application of a renewable energy sources," said Mr Brownfield.

AGL's birthday gift announcement was made at a high-energy event which featured over 50 little Melbournians from Heart Foundations, Jump Rope for Heart Demonstration Teams and local Melbourne schools Hesket Primary School, Bacchus Marsh Grammar and Birmingham Primary School, who jumped for joy alongside Little Audrey in celebration of one of Melbourne's most significant landmarks.

"Little Audrey has brought great delight to generations of Victorians and AGL is proud to not only play a part in ensuring future generations are able to appreciate this icon, but also witness and enjoy efficient energy usage at its best," said Mr Brownfield.

The celebrations will continue tonight as AGL hosts a solar party for Little Audrey at a spectacular venue overlooking the iconic sign.

Constructed in the mid 1930's, Skipping Girl was Australia's first animated neon sign. Mystery still surrounds the identity of the real Little Audrey. Some say the model for the Skipping Girl logo was the local milk bar owner's daughter. Others claim that she was modelled on a girl who later went on to become a nun in a convent near Frankston. Whoever she was, she's been preserved in this famous sign.

For all media enquiries and more information please contact:

Giselle Lloyd, Publicity Manager
Direct: 03 8633 6115
e-mail: glloyd@agl.com.au


News - Skipping girl to become city's sunshine, Mex Cooper, The Age 16 February 2012

Twenty years before television began broadcasting in Australia and decades before iPads had been invented, a bright little girl started to dazzle Melbourne children with a skipping rope.

Little Audrey, as the Skipping Girl Vinegar neon sign became known, this years marks her 75th year but her child-like appeal has not faded for the city that loves her as an icon.

It was today announced that the sign will be powered with solar energy, cementing a future that was not always so bright.

There was a time when it was feared much-loved little Audrey, Australia's first animated neon sign, would disappear into darkness forever.

Abbotsford resident Pat Cowl was among the members of Friends of Audrey that formed in 2003 to save the landmark.

Ms Cowl, 72, said the sign had by then fallen into disrepair and she, along with members Jenny Hume and Tricia Broadbent, campaigned to revive the girl that had filled their childhoods with awe.

"My father used to drive us down the hill and she stood out so brightly. We would drive and watch it. There were very few buildings and you could see her for miles, it was something quite unique and there was very little else like that, which is why she became such an icon," Ms Cowl said.

Ms Hume can recall driving to eat fish and chips underneath the glowing sign. She said 3000 signatures were collected and tens of thousands of dollars raised to restore the sign in 2009.

Ms Cowl said when Friends of Audrey surveyed shoppers and residents in the Richmond area, they were surprised by the depth of feeling for the illuminated sign.

"With all age groups it had been passed down in families and they were all very emotional about it," she said. "It was really quite amazing, people would chat for ages and there was a real interest."

Widespread community support led to the sign receiving Heritage Victoria registration in 2007.

It wasn't the first time little Audrey had been saved.

In 1968 the factory that had been her home was demolished and the site taken over by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, who sold the original 1936 sign to a used-car dealer. A public campaign for Audrey's return led to a replica being made in 1970, which was then erected at the Crusader Plate factory in Victoria Street. By 1986 the business had closed and the sign again fell dark.

Four years later, when the site was redeveloped, Audrey once again brightened the night sky but then in 2001 she was switched off until the campaign by Friends of Audrey won her heritage registration.

A public campaign led by the group and the National Trust managed to raise enough funds to restore the one-tonne sign with the help of energy company AGL in 2009 and today she sits radiant atop a Richmond apartment building.

AGL today announced the sign would now be run on power generated by 27 solar panels and invited children from Hesket Primary School, Bacchus Marsh Grammar and Birmingham Primary School to skip along with the Audrey.

Who Audrey was remains a mystery.

A Brigidine nun, Sister Felicitas Minogue, is believed to have been featured on the Skipping Girl Vinegar bottle label after her brother Jim Minogue won a competition for his drawing of his then eight-year-old sister in 1915.

But there is also speculation that while Sister Minogue's image was used on the label another girl, a local milk bar owner's daughter, was the inspiration for the original sign.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/skipping-girl-to-become-citys-sunshine-20120216-1tag5.html

News - Little Audrey' skipping on sunshine, ABC 16 February 2012

Melbourne's only heritage-listed neon sign, Little Audrey, has been switched over to solar power to mark its 75th anniversary.

The sign on Victoria Street in Abbotsford, known as the skipping girl, will be powered by 27 solar panels.

Over 50 school girls skipped in unison with Little Audrey as the switch was thrown.

The National Trust launched an appeal in 2008 to get the sign switched back on after being in the dark for eight years.

The original Audrey sign was above the vinegar factory from 1936 until the company relocated in 1968.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-16/little-audrey-skipping-on-sunshine/3833744?section=vic

News – Skipping Girl goes solar, Onlymelborune.com.au 16 February 2012

From Thursday 16th November 2012, Little Audrey will skip 16,000 times every night powered by solar power built up during the day by sunlight.

Now in her 75th year Audrey's getting another gift – solar power, so she can continue to skip and light up Melbourne's skyline.

http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/melbourne_details.php?id=15062

News Video – Skipping Girl goes green at 75, Brisbane Times & The Age 16 February 2012

Richmond's beloved vinegar girl, little Ausrey get an eco-friendly birthday.

http://media.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/national-news/skipping-girl-turns-75-3046764.html

News - Bright Tribute Melbourne Times Weekly, Melbourne 15 Feb 2012

The iconic Skipping Girl Vinegar neon sign that lights up the Abbotsford skyline will soon go green. Energy company AGL is expected to announce tomorrow that "Little Audrey" will use solar power to keep on skipping. AGL spokeswoman said the switch to green energy would be a "glowing tribute" on the sign's 75th birthday. The heritage-listed sign has had a long, patchy history since it was created in Melbourne in 1936 to advertise the brand of vinegar. It was restored in 2009 following nearly a decade of being switched off.

Media Release - Juliet jumping for 'Audrey' win | 21 July 2009

BALWYN North ’s Juliet Bennie, 15, may be a lover of all things vintage, but she still appreciates the perks of state-of-the-art technology.
 
  Earlier this month. she accepted a 42-inch plasma television as the winner of AGL Energy Limited and Leader Newspapers’ Skipping Girl colour-in competition, celebrating the restoration of Melbourne’s iconic Skipping Girl, known as Little Audrey. The neon sign, erected in 1936, was refurbished back to mint condition in June.

 

For all media enquiries and more information please contact:

Giselle Lloyd, Publicity Manager
Direct: 03 8633 6115
e-mail: glloyd@agl.com.au


Media Release - Skipping Girl back in her rightful place | 4 June 2009

Melbourne’s cherished Skipping Girl, fondly known as Little Audrey, today returned to her lofty perch. Little Audrey will be relit at an official ceremony on 10 June.

“We are delighted that Audrey is back in her rightful place after a very successful restoration. During that time we have refurbished her to her mint condition replacing 80 neon globes and completely rebuilding the vinegar box,” said David Hamilton, General Manager Marketing AGL.

Thanks to AGL Energy, the principal sponsor of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) restoration appeal, along with the Heritage Council of Victoria, Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund and other public donors, The Skipping Girl has spent the past three months undergoing a major overhaul in a Heidleberg workshop.

“When she is back in action on Wednesday night she will be powered by AGL 100% Green Energy.”

The refreshed Little Audrey will be maintained by AGL, Australia’s largest integrated renewable energy company, and powered by AGL 100% GreenPower accredited product for the next five years, so that her skips will leave a far smaller carbon-footprint than before the restoration.

“During this landmark repair, we have truly realised the importance of Little Audrey to the people of Melbourne. We are delighted to see her return and look forward to her continued contribution to our skyline,” Hamilton said.

 

For all media enquiries and more information please contact:

Giselle Lloyd, Publicity Manager
Direct: 03 8633 6115
e-mail: glloyd@agl.com.au

 

Media Release - Little Audrey to return to the Melbourne sky | 28 May 2009

Melbourne’s cherished Skipping Girl, fondly known as Little Audrey, will return to her lofty perch on 4 June before being relit at an official ceremony on 10 June.

Thanks to AGL Energy, the principal sponsor of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) restoration appeal, along with the Heritage Council of Victoria, Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund and other public donors, The Skipping Girl has spent the past three months undergoing a major overhaul in a Heidleberg workshop.

“When Little Audrey arrived at the workshop, she was in pretty bad shape. The 80-plus year old neon globes were removed and fully replicated before the actual sign was cleaned and polished,” said David Hamilton, General Manager Marketing AGL.

“The vinegar box underneath the Skipping Girl was also fully replicated, as it had weathered badly during Audrey’s 38 years in the sky.”

The refreshed Little Audrey will be maintained by AGL, Australia’s largest integrated renewable energy company, and powered by AGL 100% GreenPower accredited product for the next five years, so that her skips will leave a far smaller carbon-footprint than before the restoration.

“During this landmark repair, we have truly realised the importance of Little Audrey to the people of Melbourne. We are delighted to see her return and look forward to her continued contribution to our skyline,” Mr Hamilton said.

 

For all media enquiries and more information please contact:

Giselle Lloyd, Publicity Manager
Direct: 03 8633 6115
e-mail: glloyd@agl.com.au

News - Little Audrey set to skip again, The Age | 12 May 2009

Little Audrey the Skipping Girl will be back in place in Victoria Street, Abbotsford, next month, after an overhaul. The National Trust of Australia, Heritage Victoria, Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund and AGL chipped in to revive the neon sign, erected above the old Skipping Girl Vinegar factory in 1936. Go to theage.com.au for a photo gallery. PICTURE: CRAIG ABRAHAM

http://www.theage.com.au/photogallery/2009/05/11/1241893911406.html

 

News - Many hands make light work, Herald Sun | 12 May 2009

MAISIE Lodge, 8, was jumping for joy yesterday as the restoration of Melbourne ’s Skipping Girl Vinegar sign neared completion at Delta Neon. The National Trust of Australia, Heritage Victoria, Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund and AGL have chipped in to revive the neon sign, with work due to finish next month. Picture: DAVID CAIRO

To see pictures visit:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/gallery/0,22010,5037902-5006020-10,00.html

 

News - Little Audrey ready to skip again, Melbourne Leader | 11 May 2009

FRIENDS from across Melbourne paid Little Audrey a visit at her temporary home in Heidelberg Heights today, more than a month since the iconic skipping girl stepped out of the public eye for restoration work.

She was aglow and fresh - a far cry from the tired 1936 facade that greeted her custodian, Delta Neon’s Dean Phillips, in late March.

Gallery: Pictures of Little Audrey being restored;

http://heidelberg-leader.whereilive.com.au/photos/gallery/the-of-the-little-audrey-the-skipping-girl-vinegar-sign/

All she lacked was her skipping rope, and the vinegar box she tiptoed upon.

Her visitors included representatives from the National Trust, Heritage Victoria and the Friends of Audrey group, which first appealed to the public for support and gathered 3000 signatures of people wanting to get her skipping again.

Ray Osborne, of Heritage Victoria, said Little Audrey had woven herself into the fabric of Melbourne’s popular culture over time.

“These things, they were commercial at first, but then they have become a most powerful piece of public art,” Mr Osborne said.

National Trust chief executive Martin Purslow said Little Audrey was a big part of many people’s childhood.

“A lot of the things we’ve been interested in have been the letters and comments we’ve received. A lot of them say, `When I was little, we remember…’,’’ he said.

With public support and a five-year sponsorship deal with AGL, Mr Purslow expects Little Audrey will be firmly cemented in Melbourne’s popular history when she is reinstated to her tall tower on Victoria St in Abbotsford next month.

“She is going to be part of the Melbourne popular culture again for another generation,” he said.

Mr Phillip said Little Audrey would be skipping for at least the next 20 years, given neon’s lifespan, which can last for more than 200,000 hours.

 

News - Little Audrey skipping back to energy, Heidelberg Leader | 21 April 2009

IT 'S been more than three weeks since Melbourne 's iconic skipping girl, Little Audrey, stepped down from her tall tower on Victoria St in Abbotsford.

The skipping rope has been laid to rest, while the young lady was reclining on her side at Delta Neon, her temporary home in Heidelberg Heights.

Glimmers of her former beauty were beginning to show, as workers removed rust and polished her surface, revealing a bright chilli red that was the skirt and ribbon on her hair.

Her custodian Dean Phillips, under whose watchful eye the restoration work has taken place, was pleased with the progress. "We've treated all the rust, and done two-thirds of the surfaces, made all the frames for the vinegar sign, and got about two-thirds of the neon complete," Mr Phillips said.

There are still many hours ahead before Little Audrey is restored to her former glory, but Mr Phillips said the project was on track to finish by the end of May.

Restoration project spokesman David Hamilton, from AGL, the company which will provide renewable energy to power Little Audrey for the next five years, said he was looking forward to seeing the skipping girl energised once again.

 

News - Iconic vinegar girl skips off, theage.com.au | 24 March 2009

News - Landmark sign's nesters on wing, Gareth Trickey, Herald Sun | 21 March 2009

Landmark sign's nesters on wing THE feathered friends who call Melbourne's vinegar Skipping Girl sign home are moving to new digs.

The 7m Abbotsford neon sign will come down on Monday for repairs.

Delta Neon Restoration Team will repair the Melbourne landmark and AGL energy utility, the principal sponsor of the project, will give the neon Skipping Girl her energy back with 100 per cent renewable GreenPower for the next five years.

And the birds that nest in the one-tonne sign will also be brought down, gently.

Delta Neon spokesman Dean Phillips said the restoration crew had already factored in the careful removal of the birds ' nests.

"The bird will he moved with the utmost of care and transported to a new home nearby," Mr Phillips said.

"We are experienced in removal of signs and have come across similar scenarios in the past." The Skipping Girl sign will be restored and is expected to be returned to Melbourne's skyline by June.

The frame will be repaired and its electrical circuits rebuilt with new neon tubing, returning the 1930s sign to its former glory.

The National Trust of Australia, Heritage Victoria, Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund and AGL have all chipped in to revive the ageing neon sign.

Media release - Melbourne's iconic Skipping Girl Vinegar Sign is coming down for her long awaited facelift | 18 March 2009

Little Audrey, better known as The Skipping Girl, has enjoyed a lofty spot in the Melbourne skyline since the 1930's but in 2001, the neon sign fell into disrepair and Little Audrey's animated skipping left the night sky.

Now, thanks to AGL, the principal sponsor of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) restoration appeal, along with the Heritage Council of Victoria, Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund and other public donors Little Audrey will soon be set to skip into Melbournian's hearts once again.

AGL, Australia's largest integrated renewable energy company, will provide annual maintenance funding and energy to power Little Audrey with AGL Green Energy, which is the retailer's 100% GreenPower accredited product, over the next five years.

What:

Removal by crane of the 7m tall x 4m wide iconic Skipping Vinegar Girl Sign

Who:

Project spokesperson, AGL's David Hamilton supported by National Trust, Heritage Victoria and friends of Little Audrey

When:

Monday 23 March, at 10am

Where:

Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre (44 H7)
Green level carpark – Victroria Street entrance
Victoria Street, Abbotsford

Facts to know about Little Audrey

  • The Skipping Girl sign was made in 1932.
  • Little Audrey is 7 1/2 meters tall and 4.5 meters wide
  • Little Audrey weighs 1 tonne, the same weight as a hippo!
  • It will take sign makers approximately three months to restore Little Audrey.
  • Little Audrey is the same size as an average backyard swimming pool.

 

Media Release - AGL to re-energise Melbourne's iconic Skipping Girl Vinegar Sign | 16 March 2009

Melbourne's iconic Skipping Girl Vinegar Sign is set to light up the Melbourne skyline once more. AGL, as principal sponsor of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) restoration appeal, along with the Heritage Council of Victoria, Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund and other public donors have raised the funds to restore Little Audrey.

Nicknamed Little Audrey in the 1930's, the animated neon sign has a long and colourful history in Melbourne and is now included on the Victorian Heritage Register of the State's most significant places and objects.

However despite all of this she has fallen into a state of disrepair and has not been operational since 2001. Little Audrey needs structural frame repairs and a major overhaul and rebuild of her electronics and neon tubing to restore her to her former glory.

AGL, Australia's largest integrated renewable energy company, will provide annual maintenance funding and energy to power Little Audrey with AGL Green Energy, which is the retailer's 100% GreenPower accredited product, over the next five years.

AGL, General Manager Retail Sales & Marketing David Hamilton said, "AGL is delighted to be supporting a local project that is preserving Victoria's history. The Skipping Girl Sign is one of the most loved and famous icons in Melbourne and we look forward to giving her back her energy so that she can skip again for everyone in the community to enjoy."

In May 2008, the National Trust and Heritage Council of Victoria supported by the Friends of Audrey launched the "National Trust Skipping Girl Appeal" calling for Melbournians to "Help Audrey Skip Again".

The Heritage Council of Victoria and the Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund were first to kick off the campaign with financial contributions and the public have generously donated nearly a third of the restoration costs.

National Trust CEO Martin Purslow said, "We are over the moon that this Appeal has reached its target and thank AGL, the public and other supporters for their generosity. This is a major restoration of one of Melbourne's great cultural icons that generations have grown to love. AGL's generous support will ensure Audrey skips trouble free into the future for new generations to enjoy as much as their parents and grandparents have."

AGL as principal sponsor has secured the funds needed and is now partnering with the National Trust to enable the restoration of the Skipping Girl.

"The Skipping Girl sign is due to come down on Monday 23rd March after which she will undergo extensive repair and restoration work over a three month period. She is expected to make her return in early June," Mr Hamilton said.

 

For all media enquiries and more information please contact:

Giselle Lloyd, Publicity Manager
Direct: 03 8633 6115
e-mail: glloyd@agl.com.au

News - Skipping Girl gets a light facelift, Matt Johnston, news.com.au | 14 March 2009

The heritage-listed vinegar company sign, nicknamed "Little Audrey", has dominated Abbotsford's skyline since 1936 but broke down in 2001 because of electrical and structural problems.

About $60,000 of public money was raised to restore the 7m neon sign, which will be removed for repair on March 23.

The one-tonne sign is expected to be back by June but this time powered with 100 per cent renewable energy.

The real-life skipping girl's daughter Lois Quihampton said her mother would have been "delighted" to have seen her image sparkling again.

"When we were children we would drive past and my dad would say: Look, there's your mother'," Ms Quihampton, 69, said.

"It's a part of so many people's lives. It's a symbol of Melbourne." Skipping Girl fan and comedian Fill Box backed Audrey's rejuvenation.

"The poor thing has been skipping for almost 80 years, she deserves a break and a bit of a facelift," Box said.

"I remember as a little girl wanting to be the skipping girl.

"Standing up here next to her is the closest repaired and its electronics will be rebuilt. It will have new neon tubing fitted to restore her to her former glory.

Money was raised by the National Trust of Australia, Heritage Victoria, Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund and energy fIrm AGL.

AGL will power the Skipping Girl's lights with renewable energy for five years. Restoration project spokesman David Hamilton said: "We are bringing her back to life and taking care of her."

Visit news.com.au photo gallery

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25184000-661,00.html?from=public_rss

News - The women behind Richmond's Skipping Girl sign, Stephanie Ferrier, ABC News | 19 May 2008

The iconic Skipping Girl sign was turned on at the launch of a fundraising camapign. (ABC TV)

Now to the campaign to restore a much-loved Richmond landmark, that holds a special place in the hearts of many Melburnians.

The Skipping Girl vinegar sign - affectionately known as Little Audrey is in urgent need of a facelift. And the fundraising drive has put the spotlight back on the mystery of just who was the real little girl behind the flashing lights.

Little Audrey might be approaching her twilight years, as age and rust take their toll but the National Trust wants to see her captivate many more generations to come.

The campaign to restore the sign to its former glory has also revived debate about just who provided the inspiration for this Melbourne landmark.

Graeme Blackman is the Victorian chairman of the National Trust.

"Well Audrey's a great mystery," he said.

"And a lot of the researchers from the National Trust and from Heritage Victoria are searching through the archives to try to find who Audrey really is."

It seems the original Skipping Girl label was modelled on 5 year old Kitty Minogue in 1915 when her brother sketched her in a winning competition entry for the vinegar company.

She later followed a higher calling, becoming Sister Felicitas in the Brigidine Congregation of nuns and taught in an Albert Park school for much of her life, delighting countless children with tales of her skipping prowess.

"Felicitas was a person who always had a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face," fellow nun Sister Brigid Arthur said.

"I can imagine her skipping around as a small child because she was ...that's the sort of person she was even in old age when I knew her."

But that is not the end of the Skipping Girl's story.

Joyce Legg says it was actually her late sister Alma Burns, nicknamed Bobbie, who was the child behind the Skipping Girl sign and even her parents knew she was destined to dazzle.

"When she was a baby they just said she was a bobby dazzler," Joyce Legg said.

"We lived at the back of the milkbar called the "Cosy Corner". Bob used to go there after school and skip in the street and that was how the manager of the vinegar factory found her one day," she said.

She says the manager had decided his logo needed updating and it was Bobbie who inspired the version that now graces the skyline of Richmond.

Alma Burns' daughter, Lois Quihampton remembers how the Skipping Girl was the highlight of her childhood trips to her grandparents' house and how she would gaze up at the young image of her mother.

"We thought it was wonderful and it was entertaining and we loved it," she said.

"And people would take directions from it, how far from the Skipping Girl do you live? Do we pass the Skipping Girl?"

"I used to think it was great... look up at her and think - terrific," Joyce Legg added.

But perhaps the person who literally put the spring in little Audrey's step is Irene Barron, who was a junior artist at Claude Neon when the sign was being designed in 1936.

"I had to skip cause I was the youngest and so I skipped to get the animation of the frock the rope and my feet," she said.

And she had a constant reminder of her key role in little Audrey's creation.

"My family and I have always you know we used to see it from the Reservoir train when I was coming home every night," she said.

"And we'd see the sign way over at Richmond. You'd see it flashing you know for miles."

Little Audrey skipped happily through the years, surviving even after the factory moved.

When the sign was placed atop another building in the 1970s, Bobbie was asked to flick the switch to turn little Audrey back on.

Bobbie's family is proud of its special connection and hope $60,000 can be raised to put little Audrey back up in lights, to delight a new generation.

"I think they'll get as much of a thrill out of it as we did and I'll certainly be taking my grandchildren down. You know to see it in all its glory," Lois Quihampton said.

News - Vinegar sweetie calls for restoration, Holly Ife, Herald Sun | 7 May 2008

The original Skipping Girl has welcomed plans to restore the neon sign that twinkled over Melbourne's skyline for decades.

Irene Barron was the youngest of a team of artists who worked on the Melbourne icon for Neon Electric Signs.

Mrs Barron, 86, remembers skipping for hours to help the other designers work out when and how the neon rope and skirt should move.

"I had to skip for it so they could get the skirt right and the rope and the feet and all," she told the Herald Sun from a Noosa retirement village.

"I was just over 14 and I was the youngest in the studio.

"I wore a frock my mother had made me, with a tie around the neck, so they could get the movements right."

The sign was erected in 1936 over the factory that made Skipping Girl vinegar on Victoria St in Abbotsford.

Nicknamed "Little Audrey", the flashing neon logo quickly became a landmark.

"They made the sign in the factory and I remember climbing over it," Mrs Barron said.

"It took the whole length of the floor."

The National Trust has begun an appeal to restore the Skipping Girl, which hasn't been working since 2001.

The sign, replaced with a newer version in the 1970s, needs repairs to its structure, electrics and neon tubing.

The Trust hopes to raise $60,000 from the public.

"Heritage is not just about grand 19th-century houses, it's also about protecting the icons of our popular culture," National Trust chairman Graeme Blackman said.

The Heritage Council of Victoria and the Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund have each contributed $16,000.

Tax deductible donations can be made by visiting www.nattrust.com.au or calling 9656 9800.

News - Audrey wants to glow up, and that's a good sign, Carolyn Webb, The Age | 6 May 2008

As a Melbourne landmark, she was once as famous as the Nylex clock, but the Skipping Girl Vinegar neon sign has been out of action for years.

When she was switched on for The Age last night, all that lit up on the once vibrant lass was sad bits of her dress, legs and arms, and just a few of the letters in the brand name.

Today, the National Trust will launch a public appeal to reboot the figure known to generations as little Audrey, and get her jumping rope into the future. A National Trust architectural historian, Rohan Storey, says $60,000 is needed to de-rust, repaint and reconstruct the nine-metre-high, metal and baked enamel sign that sits three storeys above Victoria Street, Richmond, opposite Victoria Gardens shopping centre.

Thousands of dollars more is needed for a future maintenance fund.

The sign was erected atop Nycander & Co's Skipping Girl Vinegar factory, opposite the end of Burnley Street, in 1936 by Electric Signs, later Whiteway Neon. The Age reported in 1980 that the factory manager based it on a photograph of Elma, the daughter of a local milk bar owner.

By the early 1960s, the vinegar factory had been bought by Mauri Brothers and Thompson.

But in 1968 the Metropolitan Fire Brigade bought the site for its training college, and demolished the factory building.

Whelan the Wrecker sold Audrey to an Abbotsford used-car dealer, where the comedian Barry Humphries found it in 1974.

He is said to have laid a wreath and sung a song.

In 1970, after public outcry, Mauri Brothers, which had moved to Altona, paid for a replica sign at the Crusader Plate electroplating factory, 100 metres east of its original site. Rohan Storey's great-uncle, Jack Benjamin, managed Crusader Plate.

Mr Storey says Audrey has since suffered from changes of ownership, both of the neon company and the building — now an office block — and also the lack of a permanent care plan. He said that "by default" the sign was now owned by the building's owners' corporation. Five years ago, an Abbotsford resident, Jenny Hume, and two friends Tricia Broadbent and Pat Cowl, formed the group Friends of Audrey to support the sign.

As a child, Ms Hume and her parents would park next to the Vickers Ruwolt engineering works, where Victoria Gardens is now, eat fish and chips "and watch her skip in all her glory".

"In the 1950s, on Saturday nights, our boyfriends would drive us to the rock'n'roll dance at Powerhouse, down by Albert Park Lake, always via the illuminated skipping girl," Ms Hume said. Three years ago, Friends of Audrey collected 3000 signatures for a petition to the National Trust calling for her repair.

Ms Hume said two-thirds of them had "I remember when stories" about the sign.

"Now is the time to restore and maintain her so thousands more young ones can acquire lasting memories of this unique icon," she said.

Tax-deductible donations can be made by calling the National Trust on 9656 9800, or through www.nattrust.com.au

View the Skipping Girl Cinema Advertisement