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Old neon sign gets new lease on life at hotel

After many years hidden away, the neon sign which sat above an old Echuca factory could soon adorn another prominent local landmark.

TRENT HORNEMAN April 9, 2014 3:50am

Some members of the O'Neill family from left: Carol Wood, Bryan O'Neill, Dorothy Young, (Moama businessman) Peter Hill, Joan O'Neill, Dean Oberin, Cheryl Wright, Ian Wright, Graeme Wood.

For many years it proudly stood atop the Echuca skyline.

It is the neon sign which sat above Echuca’s MON sauce and soft drink factory.

After many years hidden away, it could soon adorn another prominent Echuca landmark.

Moama businessman Peter Hill has arranged for the sign to be refurbished and plans to display it on the western wall of the American hotel.

Mr Hill said the sign, believed to be 87 years old, was iconic among Echuca residents.

‘‘It was the skipping girl sign of Echuca,’’ he said.

‘‘When you were driving around at night, the sign on top of the MON factory could be seen from anywhere.’’

Manger and O’Neill’s factory opened in Echuca in 1899, producing sauce and soft drinks from its Echuca factory, until 2004, on the side now home to Big W.

Mr Hill said he recently found the sign at Macca’s Demolition.

‘‘I asked Paul McKenzie what he wanted to do with it. He said if I fixed it he would give it to me,’’ he said.

‘‘I thought it needed to be somewhere visible, so I approached Dean Oberin from the American Hotel, as they continue to serve MON sauce.’’

Members of the O’Neill family took a look at the sign in Echuca on Monday.

The group said the old sign brought back happy memories and that they would be full of pride to see it lit up over Echuca again.

While the family relinquished control of the business in the 1980s, they were sad to see it depart the town about 10 years ago and hoped it would one day return.

Mr Oberin said he would lodge plans with Campaspe Shire to display the sign on the top south-west corner of the hotel facing High St.

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