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Coming of the Motor Car

Motorised vehicles made their first appearance in Melbourne about 1900. At first they were praised for being faster and cleaner than horses. However, their noise, speed and fumes frightened horses and left pedestrians ducking for cover. People complained of 'road hogs' who recklessly sped through the streets endangering all in their path.

To control the motorised horde, in 1916 Melbourne City Council had imposed new restrictions. Vehicles had to travel on the left-hand side of the road in not more than two lanes. When stopping, a hand or a whip had to be raised. In the following years hand signals for turning were imposed, along with time restrictions on parking.

Initially considered a toy for the wealthy, the ownership of motor vehicles increased most markedly after the First World War. Registrations of motor cars, trucks and cycles doubled between 1917 and 1922, reaching a total of 44,750.

Leather motoring hat
magnifyLeather motoring hat
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