Monday, January 28, 2008


I had no idea what these traffic signals were called. As kids we used to call them the clock traffic lights. They are sometimes referred to as Marshall (the inventors name) signals, but it would seem Marshalite is the correct name.

Before the big large roads to travel to suburbs very south and the Mornington Peninsular, the only way for us was along the beach road, known by us as the Beach Road, actually the Nepean Highway.

We were always excited as we approached Chelsea and were about to come to the clock traffic signals in our grandfather's Zephyr.

'May as well slow down Pop, the lights are going to go red'.

'Put your foot down Pop, you can make it'.

'Slow down Pop, no one has pushed the pedestrian button as the hand is not moving. We want to see it move'.

The 'put your foot down' was one good reason for their removal, because that is what people did to get across before the lights went red and often did not but kept going anyway.

A picture tells a thousand words and you can see how the system worked. I think the hand in the picture is in the resting position, ready to move once someone pushes the button to cross. There were some others spread around Melbourne, but this is the only one I remember.

Picture courtesy Hobbies Plus and I just realised I have bought a book from them via ebay. I can recommend them.


  1. There is a 'set' (?) outside the RACV club in the city - I sat staring at the photo for 5 minutes before I could remember where I'd seen them!

  2. Anonymous12:32 pm

    I don't think I have ever seen these before. They are such whimsical looking things. They look like something off a machine in the Willy Wonka movie. Gorgeous.

  3. Pretty funky looking.

  4. I've never laid eyes on these beauties before, thanks Andrew !

  5. Seeing them outside the RACV club in Bourke St reminded me that in my childhood (ie 50s/60s) there was a set at the intersection of High St and Burke Rd in Glen Iris. They're the only ones I remember.

  6. Wonder if they are still there Non Blondie. I think they may be the ones now in the possession of the Museum in Carlton.

    Bit like a big toy hey LiD Steph and Jayne.

    Ok Frank. Also I now believe in Johnston Street, Fitzroy and in Richmond.

  7. And I can remember a couple of sets along Sydney Road Coburg when I was a kid. In the vicinity of Pentridge Prison from memory.

  8. So a couple near Bell Street then Loz? I should compile a list. Probably been done.