Monday, 19 November 2007

Tooradin - the birth place of the RACV

Tooradin can claim to be the birth place of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV). Susan Priestley, in her book The Crown of the road : the story of the RACV, tells us of the formation of the RACV.

On  a fine weekend late in September 1903, a dozen of Melbourne's more prominent wheelmen, who were also proud owners of the new motorized cycles, took their machines on a very pleasant outing to the flat reaches of Tooradin on Westernport Bay...The outing was reported in the Australian Cyclist... and the next issue of the journal featured a prominent article on the very singular lack of a motor club in Melbourne.

The writer of the article was probably Sydney Day  described by Mrs Priestley as a printer by trade but  a cyclist and cycling writer at heart . Mrs Priestley says and that he was one of the three like-minded friends who claimed to have hatched plans for  a motoring club while on that trip to Tooradin.  The other members of the trio were James Coleman (manager of a Cycle business) and Henry (Harry) Barton James, advertising manager of Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company.

In 1903 there were about 30 cars in Melbourne and at least twice as many motor cycles. The Automobile Club of Victoria was established at a meeting, attended by 55 men, at the Bridge Hotel in Mordialloc on December 6, 1903. The Chairman was Harry Maddox and the committee was Syd Day, Thomas Rand, Henry Sutton, E.C Joshua, H.C Bagot, A.P Merrill and D.M. Officer. The last named is David McMaster Officer, a surgeon, who died in New Norfolk, Tasmania,  in 1916. I am fairly sure that he must thus be connected to the Officer family, after whom the town of Officer was named, as they originated from New Norfolk. He was the son of John and Sarah (nee McMaster) and was born in Warnambool - I just don't yet  have the connection between John and Sir Robert Officer, the patriarch of the Officer family in Australia.

The Crown of the Road   (published by McMillan in 1983) also has interesting photographs and information on early cars and motoring in Melbourne. 

No comments: