Publication Details

Clarsen, G. W. 2011, 'The flip side: women in the Redex Around Australia Reliability Trials of the 1950s', Humanities Research, vol. XVII, no. 2, pp. 17-36.


In August 1953 almost 200 cars set off from the Sydney Showgrounds in what popular motoring histories have called the biggest, toughest, most ambitious, demanding, ‘no-holds-barred’ race, which ‘caught the public imagination’ and ‘fuelled the nation with excitement’.1 It was the first Redex Around Australia Reliability Trial and organisers claimed it would be more testing than the famous Monte Carlo Rally through Europe and was the longest and most challenging motoring event since the New York-to-Paris race of 1908.2 That 1953 field circuited the eastern half of the continent, travelling north via Brisbane, Mt Isa and Darwin, passing through Alice Springs to Adelaide and returning to the start point in Sydney via Melbourne. Two Redex trials followed, in 1954 and 1955, and each was longer and more demanding than the one before. The last two trials circled the entire continent to include Western Australia, returning to Sydney via Perth and the Nullarbor Plain.