Two of my great grandfathers, Arthur Murray Cudmore (1870-1951) and Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny (1882-1952), owned motor cars quite early in the twentieth century.

They both lived in Adelaide, South Australia. The website has published indexes of early South Australian car registrations from 1906-1927 and a list of 1910 car owners and members of the South Australian Auto Club.

Arthur Murray Cudmore registered an 8 horsepower Darracq in 1906. He received the numberplate SA 4. He passed the numberplate on to his daughter, my grandmother, Kathleen (1908-2013). This number plate stayed in the family until 2012. It was sold because no member of the family lived in South Australia any more.

Kathleen wrote an article in 1967 about number plates and her father’s early cars.

from the South Australian Motor, March 1967, by Kathleen de Crespigny. Click image to enlarge.

In the article, Kathleen writes that her father had a car before registration numbers were introduced that was known to the family as “the little red car”. When the car was new her parents drove it to Torrens Park, a grand house and now a school in the suburb of Torrens Park which is 8 km (5 miles) from the city.

It was considered both luck and good management that the car did not hit either of the gate posts as it came in. However, it did run into the garden bed just inside.

The Darracq owned by Dr A.M. Cudmore was painted with vertical stripes, one and half  inches wide, in black and green.

This Darracq photographed in Queensland in 1909 would have looked similar to the one owned by A. M. Cudmore. Image retrieved from

A famous Darracq was “Genevieve” which featured in a 1953 film about the veteran 1904 car in the annual London to Brighton car run.

screenshot from the film “Genevieve” retrieved from

Arthur Murray Cudmore took part in hill climbs just outside Adelaide.

AUTOMOBILE HILL CLIMBING CONTEST. (1905, December 18). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 7. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from

A. M. Cudmore completed the climb in 16 minutes 35 seconds.His Darracq had only 8 horsepower compared with the 15 horsepower of Mr E. S. Rymill’s Darracq which made the fastest time of 9 minutes and 30 seconds.

In 1912 Dr A. M. Cudmore was fined for speeding along South Terrace at 26 miles per hour (41 kph).

LAW COURTS. (1912, October 12). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 7. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from

My great grandfather Trent de Crespigny registered his first car on 1 June 1914. It was a 20 horsepower Ford with the number plate 4562.

The Ford Model T, colloquially known as “Tin Lizzie”, was an automobile that was produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1908 to 1927.Image retrieved from

Within a fortnight he had crashed it.

MOTOR CAR “BOLTS”. (1914, June 16). Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 – 1924), p. 6. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from

In a History of the Royal Adelaide Hospital a short biography of Sir Trent de Crespigny remarks:

It is said that he was very interested in motoring, but that driving with him could be a rather hair-raising experience. (Hughes, J. Estcourt A history of the Royal Adelaide Hospital. The Board of Management of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, [Adelaide], 1967. page 166)

In 1929 Trent de Crespigny had another car accident that was reported in the newspapers.

MOTOR CAR, HIT BY. TRAM, OVERTURNS. (1929, October 19). The Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 – 1931), p. 3. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from