It was with much pleasure that I read today that the Nylex Plastics Company will pay the approximately $300,000 to restore the famous Nylex Clock, a Melbourne icon which sits above the No. 2 Cremorne Silos in Richmond. The Nylex Clock which was erected in 1961, is a much-loved Melbourne icon, perhaps not so much for its aesthetics, but its utilitarian value. The sign consists of metal shallow-trough letters reading “Nylex Plastics”, outlined with incandescent lights and neon tubes. Above the sign sits an LED clock that shows the time as well as the temperature.
The famous Nylex Clock
The famous clock can be seen for kilometres across Melbourne’s suburbs. In fact, its cultural value as well as its historical value is so great that it is listed in the Victorian Heritage Register (File Number H2049) as being of significance to the State of Victoria. Everyday, thousands of Melburnians, rowing on the Yarra, walking or riding on its banks, or catching the train in from the suburbs could check the famous clock for the time and temperature, until it was turned off last year.
Nylex Clock on top of the silos, viewed from street level
The clock has been the centre of controversy in recent years. In 2003, developers proposed demolishing the silos underneath the clock and constructing an office block instead, with the clock positioned in prominent position on the top (since its removal would be illegal). After many protests and objections, the Victorian Heritage Council decided to heritage-list the silos too, as a reminder of Richmond’s industrial past, and so the proposal was shelved.
Proposed office block, planned to replace the silos
According to the Victorian Heritage Council, the Melbourne suburb of Richmond has the greatest concentration of surviving sky-signs in the state, which also include the Skipping Girl, Victoria Bitter, Slade Knitwear and the Pelaco signs. However, it is the Nylex Clock which is most prominent.
The clock is scheduled to be partially removed and restored off-site, before being reinstated later in the year.
(Picture sources: 1. Victorian Heritage Council; 2. urbanmelboune.com; 3. The Age)