Alice Anderson’s Motor Service

Alice Anderson was Australia’s first female garage proprietor.

In 1919 Alice purchased a block of land on Cotham Road in Kew, Victoria and opened ‘Alice Anderson’s Motor Service’. The garage offered petrol sales, vehicle repairs, a driving school, 24 hour chauffeur service and organised chauffeured tourist parties on interstate trips. It was an all-women business, and Alice employed approximately nine chauffeurs and mechanics. Her ambition was to turn garage work into a suitable profession for women.

Her death in 1926 remains a mystery; one night she was cleaning an automatic pistol and shot herself in the head. It is still speculated whether the shot was accidental. Alice is a significant figure in Australian motoring history and her story demonstrates the experience of being a woman in the motor industry in the early twentieth century. This exhibition explores the life of Alice and her ‘garage girls’.

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