Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania

Early motoring: the Allport family in their car, 1912 (ALMFA, SLT)

The Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania began in 1923 in Hobart, as a club for motoring enthusiasts, at a café meeting in Hobart between devotees of this new and liberating form of transport. Because mass motoring was in its infancy in the 1920s, membership of the Club could be counted in the hundreds. Today, about one quarter of Tasmania's population are members of the RACT.

The early activities of the Club were confined to picnic outings, and social occasions at its headquarters in Hobart. The breakdown service was an early innovation. In 1927, it comprised a part time officer equipped with a motor cycle. In the same year, the Club was granted the royal warrant, and was called the Royal Autocar Club of Tasmania. This was amended to the current name in 1955.

During the 1950s the Club expanded to all parts of the state, through amalgamations with other motoring organisations, and the establishment of a branch network. The Club has also grown in terms of the services it provides to members.

RACT Travel is now one of the largest travel organisations in Tasmania, and RACT Insurance Pty Ltd is Tasmania's only locally owned insurance company, while more than 80,000 motorists depend upon the roadside breakdown service every year. The RACT also provides a wide range of other services, from touring and finance, to technical services and home security.

Stuart Bridges