BY Georgia Fullerton
The iconic Coca Cola sign in Kings Cross has turned off its lights for renovations that are expected to take up to six months.
Residents have stressed the importance of the sign in relation to the famous strip, saying it may be one of the last symbols of the old Kings Cross.
Darlinghurst resident Mickey Taylor believes the sign represents much more than Coca Cola: “It was always a point of meeting, because everyone knew exactly where it was. It’s part of the framework that has made the Cross great.”
“Just as restaurants like Piccolo Bar have set the foundation for memories in the area, the Coca Cola sign is a vital attraction and should be taken care of to make sure it is preserved.” he said.
The sign, first erected in 1974, is owned by Coca-Cola South Pacific although it is not heritage listed as may be commonly assumed.
Ms.Taylor said: “It’s a gateway into Kings Cross, and the closest thing Sydney has to a tourist landmark like Times Square, so perhaps the debate about a heritage listing should develop.”
Kings Cross Heritage Conservation Society President Andrew Woodhouse believes the sign has no heritage significance and should be considered as merely advertising.
“It is relatively young, has no links to an important designer and has no technical importance. It is crass kitsch.”
“Amatil Coke says it is undergoing an upgrade but we have asked Sydney Council to ensure a DA is lodged for any works,” Mr Woodhouse said.
The renovations, which began in September, include a custom-made scaffold for the sign’s 41 metres and 800 fluorescent lamps.
Ms Taylor said the ‘face-lift’ was important to the suburb’s night life and its history.
“Hopefully the renovations won’t take longer than predicted, because with the lock-out laws and other controversy that have shrouded the Cross in recent years, it’s important to maintain some its old fixtures,” she said.