We appreciate them when we need to cross a busy intersection; we curse them when we are in a hurry, but there is no getting away from it, traffic lights are a feature of urban life.

As part of the Brisbane City Council’s Artforce program many of the signal boxes that house the electronics that control our traffic lights have been painted, either by professional artists, or by people who simply wanted to ‘have a go’.


My favorite is the ‘Rabbit’.

It’s interesting that the artist has positioned the animal behind a chain wire fence.  Whilst children may have a love affair with these furry creatures, they are in fact a declared pest in Australia and it is illegal to keep them as pets in Queensland.

Domestic rabbits were first brought to Australia with the First Fleet and wild rabbits were released into Victoria in 1859.  They spread rapidly.

Recognised as Australia’s most destructive introduced pest a great deal of effort has gone into their control.  The Rabbit Nuisance Bill of 1878 and then an Act in 1880 were the Queensland Governments first response to the problem and fences were built in a effort to keep them a bay.  By 1929 there was something like 47,000 km of rabbit fencing around Queensland, part under Government control and part in private hands.

Today about 555 km of fencing still remains to protect 19 local authorities from rabbit incursions.

Another particularly impressive piece of work is the signal box titled ‘Stories’.  It just about compels you to check out the bookshelves as if you were in a library.  The cats, the bats, mice, cups of tea etcetera, in amongst the books on display really holds the interest and is an example of lengths that some artists will go to to make these drap boxes really interesting.

I hope you enjoy the gallery.

17 Responses to “Traffic Signal Boxes”

    • Paul Dean

      Many of the boxes have had a lot of thought and work put into them by the artists. To the extent that whenever you come across a new one you feel compelled to explore it for the detail. Thank you Lisa.

  1. lagottocattleya

    I’d like to be met by such boxes in Sweden too!

    Here the great pest is not rabbits, though – it’s wild boars. Once, in the 20th C, they were shot all of them and nonexistent here – people had been working to achieve that for many years. Then someone let out some pigs from their corral…and now they are back again…in hundreds and thousands! They breed very fast and have become a great danger in traffic too. Farmers hate them for totally destroying their farmland. I would not like a picture of a pig on any box!

    • Paul Dean

      Unfortunately feral animals are a real problem around the world. It sounds as though your pigs are just as unpopular with Farmers as are our rabbits are with ours. Thank you Ann-Christine for your comment.

  2. mybeautfulthings

    Isn’t that a lovely way to beautify something functional? The whole idea reminds me of The Graffiti Grannies here in Cornwall. They hang bits of knitting or crochet in the most unexpected places to brighten them up.
    All the best 🙂

    • Paul Dean

      I had a look at the Graffiti Grannies Facebook page – what an interesting concept and what lovely work they do. Thank you Sally for telling us about them.

  3. ideflex

    These are fantastic – much better than the dreary postal code or government corporation touting ones we have here!

    • Paul Dean

      Apart from jazzing up our intersections the Council has all but eliminated the graffiti these boxes used to attract. So its been a real win for the community.

    • Paul Dean

      I’m guessing that as the signal boxes are such a small item when it comes to the streetscape that they tend to go unnoticed. Thank you for taking the time to comment Gayle and My apologies for not responding sooner.

  4. littledogslaughed

    I would love to see phone boxes like this in Charlotte-what a terrific idea and great images! My favorite is the pesky rabbit-but they all are terrifically eye-catching.


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