Talbot Motor Car, 1908

National Motor Museum, Birdwood, Australia

EMu user since 2006

septemberWhen Messrs Dutton and Aunger pluckily undertook to make a second attempt to cross Australia their most sanguine well-wishers hardly expected that such a difficult trip would be accomplished; but in the face of all perils and hardships, Messrs Dutton and Aunger, by perseverance and undaunted courage have come home as conquering heroes.

T.E. Barr-Smith
President of the South Australian Automobile Club, reported in The Express and Telegraph, 2 October 1908

On 20 August 1908, when Harry Dutton and Murray Aunger drove into Darwin, they had made history as the first people to drive across the Australian continent. On their 51 day journey from Adelaide they crossed deserts, negotiated creeks and rivers and even escaped a bushfire in this Talbot.

For many people living in remote regions, this was the first time that they had seen a vehicle that could travel under its own power.

This journey was undertaken before there were roads and bridges. Many doubted that the travellers would be successful. Indeed, their first attempt in 1907 ran into the wet season in the tropics and their original car, known affectionately as Angelina, got well and truly bogged outside Tennant Creek.

In order to complete the journey some modifications had to be made to the car. It was fitted with a specially constructed box-body and steel studded Michelin tyres, and travelled with shovels, axes, rifles, water bags, spare tyres and other necessary equipment strapped to its sides.