Can you point us in the right direction?

The Ipswich Art Gallery is calling on the Ipswich community to help uncover information about a rare cast iron sign thought to date back to the 1920s.

A fingerboard, also known as a fingerpost, guidepost or sign post, is a post with one or more arms, known as fingers, which point in the direction of travel.

The Ipswich Art Gallery has recently acquired the cast iron sign from a private collection but the original location of the fingerboard is unknown.

The sign is white with black writing that says Rosewood 15 ½ miles.

What staff do know is that the sign would have been 15 ½ miles (24.94 kilometres) away by road, not ‘as the crow flies’.

Over the years improvements to the city’s roads may have slightly shortened the distance.

Assuming the sign remained in use for about 50 years, it would be within living memory for some Ipswich residents.

Ipswich Art Gallery director Michael Beckmann said it was essential to collect, conserve, research and document objects of historic or social significance to the region for the benefit of the community and for future generations.

“We are asking for help from residents,” Mr Beckmann said.

“If anyone can remember the Rosewood sign or better still, has a photo of it in its original location, we will be able to piece this mystery together.”

 Interestingly, current terminology still refers to narrow directional signs affixed to posts as fingerboards.

A modern Ipswich City Council fingerboard

If you have any information you can share with the Ipswich Art Gallery about this rare Rosewood fingerboard, please send an email to

One Comment

  1. I’m thinking it is a distance sign at Laidley Railway station as the distance is 25.3km by rail. In the early 1920s, cars would have had difficulty getting from Laidley to Rosewood (same distance) due to the Little Liverpool range and road signs from Laidley would have been more likely pointing to Grandchester at that distance.

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