The First Cars In Moruya and District

The South Coast Nationals, a major annual  event for a number of vehicle genres which attracts thousands of people over two days, is being held at Moruya High School grounds this weekend.

This unique event offers entrants and spectators a safe, secure, fun weekend with amusements for the kids, stalls for all and refreshments. Many hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Hot Rods, Vintage and Custom vehicles, bikes and trucks and even boats will be on display for enthusiasts.

So there is no better time to look at very early accounts of the introduction of motor vehicles to our community and the way they quickly impacted on the way people lived. The following excerpts are all from the Moruya Examiner at the very beginning of the 1900’s.

An early car rally in Narooma. One of the first South Coast Nats?
An early car rally in Narooma. One of the first South Coast Nats?

The following articles from the Moruya Examiner start with initial accounts on this ‘new mode of travelling’.

19th April 1901

MOTOR CARS – This mode of travelling has become very popular in Europe and England, and is now being introduced in the principal cities of Australia, though still in a very limited way. A parade of these cars was a feature of the late Sydney Show and demonstrated the possibility of their usefulness. Through the progressive ideas of our coach proprietor and mail contractor, Mr. Jas Averell, Moruya is to enjoy the distinction of having one in our midst. Mr Averell has given the order for the construction of a five passenger one. They are driven by various forces, steam, electricity and oil, and are capable of a journey say from Nowra to Bega in one day. We compliment Mr Averell on his progress.

September 13th, 1901.

A NOVELTY IN BRAIDWOOD.  Considerable excitement was created on Wednesday by the arrival of one of the latest motor cars, it being the first of the kind seen her. The car was a Winton, supplied by the Winton Woods Automobile Company of Sydney, and resembled an ordinary four wheel buggy, with the exception that the shafts are absent and the body closer to the ground. The occupants were Messrs F.Kirby and J.W. Knowsley, the commercial representatives ofMessrs Friend and Co and D. Mitchell and Co, Sydney and Mr W. Cole, electrician of the Winton Woods Company. Themotive power of the car is gasoline and the motor is equal toeight horse power.

The party started from Goulburn on Tuesday afternoon with the intention of doing a trial run of 800 or 900 miles. Taragowas reached in an hour and ten minutes. The thirty miles fromTarago to Braidwood were negotiated in an hour and forty minutes. Mr Cole informed us however that at least thirtyminutes could have been saved had he been so disposed. The car is built to run twenty five miles per hour on a good road. The party left Braidwood for Nowra on Thursday morning and they intend doing the coast and Monaro districts before returning to Sydney. The amount of oil consumed during the run from Goulburn to Braidwood was three gallons, the price of which is two shillings per gallon, so that the cost of this trip was six shillings. Should this trial trip prove satisfactory there can be no doubt that motor cars

will be extensively used by commercial travellers in the near future.

As vehicles became more common they were seen less as a novelty and more of an effective means of transportation. Then, as now, speeds were marvelled at:

12th March 1910

MOTOR TRIP – A party of five sporting enthusiasts visited the Braidwood Show and Races, held last week, in Mr. Harrison’s motor car. Owing to improvements being effected on the Araluen mountain the trip was made via Bateman’s Bay and Nelligen. The little car acted splendidly, and, with the exception of a little jibbing near the top of the Nelligen mountain where the ascent was steep and greasy and the cylinder over-heated from the long steep drive, she sped along up hill and down dale to the satisfaction of the passengers. The last 14 miles from the top of the mountain into Braidwood was done under 40 minutes.

1st October 1910

FAST TRAVELLING – Mr. Harrison left Sydney in his old “Star” car last Tuesday at 2 p.m. with Dr and Mrs Ludowici. He arrived in Wollongong at 6 p.m., leaving again at 9 a.m. the following morning and arriving in Moruya at 10 p.m., after delivering his passengers at Kyla Park.

Of course the inevitable articles about accidents to vehicles became commonplace:

7th January 1911

MOTOR CAR ON FIRE – On Monday last whilst a party of Moruyaites were motoring to Bega races in one of Mr. Harrison’s cars, and when passing Yarranung, near the Bega River, the hood, which was lying in folds at the back of the car, was noticed to be on fire. The car was immediately brought to a standstill, and despite the most strenuous efforts of Mr. Harrison and the party (5) the whole of the covering was completely destroyed, and it was only with the application of water that the car was saved from destruction. As it was the trimmings on the back seat were burnt and the back of the car considerably charred.

3rd June 1911

MOTOR ACCIDENT – When returning from Araluen and within a few miles of Braidwood, the steering gear of a motor car driven by “Joe” Malone and containing 6 to 7 passengers, got out of order and the car crashed through a fence, knocking down several panels and throwing the chauffeur and a Mr. Parsons from the front seat. No one was seriously injured.

And some things do not change – young people , out for a ‘flying visit’ to Bega, were home after midnight!

12th August 1911

MOTOR TRIP – A jolly party of Moruya lads and lassies, consisting of Misses Deane (2), A. Barber, and Messrs. M. Deane, S. Irwin, T. Whittaker, L. Flanagan, and the irrepressible “Jackey” McDonald, had a flying visit to “Bega the Beautiful” per the Transport motor car on Sunday. With a slight mishap to one of the springs, near Reedy Creek, which delayed them some hour or so to bind up with wire, an enjoyable time was experienced, arriving back in Moruya a little after midnight.

Vulcan St, Moruya c.1920
Vulcan St, Moruya c.1920

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