A demolition project helping reshape Newcastle West's future has revealed a ghost sign from the past.
The vacant building at 679A and 681 Hunter Street is being demolished to create a public pathway along the Cottage Creek stormwater channel, past the new Verve apartment complex, through to King Street.
As the building formerly housing shops and apartments has come down, an old sign hidden behind a wall for decades has been gradually revealed.
While only some of the painted sign is visible, it is an advertisement for peanut butter, possibly the ETA brand. As well as the words 'Peanut Butter', a large 'A' on a blue backdrop and a young man's face shine out from the brick wall.
City of Newcastle owns the building being removed, and a spokesperson says its contractors were "pleasantly surprised to discover the ETA Peanut Butter mural during their painstaking demolition".
"No record of it had been found during compilation of the site's heritage report," the spokesperson said.
According to the heritage report done before the demolition, the building is believed to have been constructed in 1936. That would indicate the sign has been on the neighbouring wall for at least 83 years
"The fate of the mural rests with the owner of the adjacent property, but it's always exciting when any of Newcastle's past is uncovered," the City of Newcastle spokesperson said.
George Rafty, the owner of the building with the sign on the wall, said he had bought the place in the mid-1970s but was unaware of the old advertisement.
"I had no idea, it was covered," Mr Rafty said. "It's interesting, because the building's pretty old."
Mr Rafty said he didn't know what he would do about the historical sign on his property until he had a look at it.
The advertisement is a rare example of "a lost art" in the age of computer-driven billboards, according to Brett Watson, managing director of Hi-Vis Group, a Newcastle company that creates signs.
"You had to be an artist to do this kind of work, because the only thing you had to work on was a hand-drawn print," Mr Watson said. "They were very much done by hand and eye."
Mr Watson said he hoped the sign could be preserved.
"It's a bit of heritage," he said. "It's a lost art. I think it would be good for the community to keep that wall."
The demolition project goes on, and more of the old peanut butter sign will come to light in the coming days.
"Due to the close proximity of the exterior walls to the neighbouring properties, no heavy machinery has been used on this part of the demolition," the City of Newcastle spokesperson said.