‘Businesses of Banyule’ presents Delta Neon, Heidelberg Heights.
Neon lit a passion for Dean from an early age, leading to specialised studies in England and the expertise and skills that saw him trusted with restoring Melbourne’s most iconic neon sign, the Skipping Girl Vinegar sign.
“Being brought up in a signage family business, which has extended over three decades, started my passion for neon lighting. My father, and the founder of Delta Neon, is a glass blower and designer. When I was 15, I would look out for old signs in the rubbish bin, collecting them and resurrecting them. Later in life I realised this interest was in fact a passion and would value add to the family business.
My father trusted my passion and I followed my dream to study neon glass work in England as there was no education in Australia. It was the start of the digital age and I also started to design signwriting software packages, predicting that computers would take over sign writers. When I returned from England, this prediction personally hit home after a promised apprenticeship as a sign writer failed to eventuate. So dad gave me a hot wire machine used to make signs for Woolworths and, working from home, I started doing two signs a month. When Dad’s partner became ill, Dad approached me to work in the glass shop. I started to work in different areas of the business and I introduced neon lighting as the most economical and sustainable material in the industry. My first sign was Wishbone Chickens in 1982 and my recent, proud project is to restore one of Melbourne’s landmark Skipping Girl Vinegar neon sign.
To this day, my collection lives on and its history is shared and appreciated by interested artists and buyers in the film industry, as well as in domestic and commercial markets. I use my creativity to design unique signs and enjoy every piece because each is different. Every day there’s something new and when it lights up, I light up! The little boy in me still lives on and my passion continues to light up Australia!