Saturday, 3 December 2016

Online Index of 80,153 Early WA Motor Vehicle Registrations

The Royal Automobile Club (R.A.C.) of Western Australia historically published an annual Year Book & Road Guide. Some of the early editions included lists of every registered motor vehicle in Western Australia. The lists included the owner, their address, the type of vehicle, its license/number plate and the local authority it was registered with.

In partnership with the North Midlands Project we have transcribed, indexed and created a searchable online database of motor vehicle registrations from throughout Western Australia (extracted from the R.A.C. Year Book & Road Guides of 1917-18, 1922-23, 1924-25, 1925-26, 1926-27 and 1927-28). A great many thanks are due to those who worked so hard to transcribe, check and reformat this wealth of information, which can now be searched via the below link...

Arthur & Florence White of Sun Holme Farm in Winchester with their sports model Buick

The index contains 80,153 entries, comprised from the following years:

3,324 vehicles in 1917-18
5,495 vehicles in 1922-23
10,693 vehicles in 1924-25
15,322 vehicles in 1925-26
19,975 vehicles in 1926-27
25,344 vehicles in 1927-28

The growth in vehicles during the ten years from 1917-18 to 1927-28 was over 762 percent!

During this period the most popular make was undoubtedly Ford (28% of all registrations) followed by Chevrolet (12%), Dodge (11%), Overland (7%), Buick (5%), Rugby (3%), Studebaker (3%), Essex (3%), Hupmobile (2%) and then Morris, Fiat, Maxwell and Chrysler (1% each). Other brands, with a less than 1% market share included Reo, Citroen, Austin, Oldsmobile, Willys-Knight, International, Graham, Whippet, Republic, Pontiac, Swift, General Motors Company (G.M.C.), Leyland, Guy and Vauxhall.

The index reveals that some people went through a number of vehicles in the space of ten years. For example, F. J. Enhardt of Dowerin didn't own a vehicle in 1917-18 but in 1922-23 he had a 19-horsepower Ford with the number plate D●11. He retained his plate but by 1924-25 he'd got rid of the Ford and owned a Maxwell. Two years later in 1926-27 he'd changed again and had D●11 on a Chrysler.

It may appear that multiple people had the same number plate at the same time. However, this was generally not the case. Some local governments used the same numbering (but on different coloured plates) for private vehicles and those for trade or hire. In other places, such as Narrogin, there was both a road board and a municipal council - the former would include the dot in the middle while the latter contained no dot.

Sometimes the road board and municipal council would use different letters, but not always! For instance, in 1926-27 the Albany Road Board's plates were A followed by a dot and the Albany Municipal Council also used used A but without a dot - hence both A●21 and A 21 both existed but were on different vehicles owned by different people!

If anyone wishes to view the digitised R.A.C. Year Book & Road Guides, they can be found and viewed within the catalogue of the State Library of Western Australia. Our new index, which can be searched by surname or keyword, can be found via the below link...

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Carnamah Museum Collection of National Significance

We're delighted to reveal that we have been awarded a Community Heritage Grant for a significance assessment of our museum collection. One of the great things about this grant is that it means our collection has been deemed to be of national significance.

Recipients of Community Heritage Grants at the National Library of Australia in Canberra

An additional part of the grant is to send a representative to the National Library of Australia in Canberra, to both officially receive the grant and to undergo training on assessing and caring for museum collections.

Pictured above is our beaming representative Shiona Herbert (right) with Hon. Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, who was representing Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts.

We'd like to extend our congratulations to all of the other grant recipients, which are listed here, but would especially like to congratulate a fellow Mid West collection in the Greenough Museum & Gardens, who received a grant for a significance assessment of their Maley Archive.

Community Heritage Grants are funded by the Australian Government through the National Library of Australia, the Ministry for the Arts, the National Archives of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia. Our heartfelt thanks to all of the funders, to Andrew Bowman-Bright for managing our project and to Shiona Herbert for flying the Carnamah flag in Canberra!

Dr Joanna Sassoon has been appointed to undertake our significance assessment in early 2017.