History of Australian Introduction to Vehicles


First Petrol-Driven Car in Australia


Harry A. Tarrant produces his first car, called the Tarrant. It was probably the first petrol-driven car manufactured in Australia.

Brass Era

1905 - 1914

From the 1905 to 1914 (the start of World War I) the Brass/Edwardian era of automobile manufacture saw different power systems and designs being thought of and refined. Technologies that were pioneered in this era included; electronic ignition systems, four wheel breaks, independent suspension, safety glass, steel frames and finally, transmission and throttle controls.

Families Who Own a Car


One in every four Australian families now owns a car.

The Project 2000

1947 - 1948

After a trip to America in 1946, a handmade model [The Project 2000] was shipped to Australia and throughout 1947 the car was extensively tested. By 5th April 1948 the car (called the FX) was released to a massive audience including the Prime Minister of Australia and production began to average 10 per day.

First Holden Car


Prime Minister Ben Chifley unveils the first Holden car ever, the 48-215 on 29 November.

Japanese Vehicles


Imports of Japanese vehicles in volume commence. They make up only 0.1 per cent of market share at this stage.

Compulsory Seatbelts


Victoria becomes the first state in the world to make seat belts in the front seat compulsory.

Seatbelts in NSW


NSW make seat belts compulsory in the front seat.

National Highway System


Australia adopts the National Highway system, which to this day remains the official highway numbering system.



Random breath testing is introduced in Australia, starting in Victoria.



SRS was installed for the first time in a passenger car; a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Frontal Airbags


Frontal airbags began to be introduced as a standard feature in light vehicles.



B-Double Federal Interstate Regulations, ABS mandated on B-double trucks and trailers. Subsequent backlash against ABS requirement on trailers.

Holden Airbags


Holden is the first local maker to introduce driver’s airbags in its 1993 VR Commodore. Also, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) starts providing independent crash test results for hundreds of vehicles.

Airbag for the Middle Seat Passenger


EF (Ford Vehicle) had a passenger airbag, capable of protecting the rear middle seat passenger for the first time. Not only were the cars advancing in speed and style, safety was, for the first time, car manufacturers top priorities.

Holden Improves Safety


Holden improved the safety of their commodore releasing the all new improved VT Commodore in 1997 which was a first for an Australian built car with a stronger body, passing several crash tests.

First Smart Car


The first Smart car is sold in Australia, one of the first “micro cars” to be sold here.

Speed Humps Australia


Speed Humps Australia was formed to provide innovative solutions to speed management in commercial and retail car parks where pedestrians and vehicles are in close proximity to one another.

First Electric Vehicle


The first electric vehicle is sold in Australia. Throughout the year, a total of 112 electric vehicles are sold in the country.

Brake Assist


Crash alert systems also can charge brakes to make a hard stop. "Brakes are basically electromechanical pumps, and we prefill them so there's a quicker response time," Leone says. "They're ready to go if you need them."

Adaptive Cruise Control


Hands-free highway driving is closer than it appears. Laser and radar sensor systems can already adjust cruising speeds to maintain a safe following distance.

Automatic Warning and Braking


Cameras, lasers and radar are widely available to either cue the driver to approaching obstacles or to step in and slam on the brakes.
"Forward collision prevention systems are showing the most benefit in preventing crashes in the real world,".

Blind Spot Alerts


Drivers aren't alone in watching their backup cameras. Cars like the redesigned 2016 Toyota Tacoma can process the images. They detect objects in a driver's blind spot, or rear cross-traffic approaching as the driver backs out of a mall parking spot.
The sensors trigger flashing lights at side mirrors and can sound alerts as the car backs up or the driver signals a turn. Small wide-angle mirrors also improve visibility.