In the driver’s seat: how mechanic Alice Anderson drove through gender barriers

In 1919 at the tender age of 22, Kew local Alice Anderson entered the history books by opening Australia’s first all-female car garage.

Alice Anderson: The most amazing woman I’ve never met

When Alice Anderson was found dead in her garage in 1926 it made headlines around Australia. Why? Was it because she was the nation’s first female mechanic – an astute businesswoman who trained and gave female mechanics an opportunity to work in the male-dominated industry? Or was it because her death was a mystery – and remains so to this very day? This was something writer Loretta Smith wanted to find out.

Article in the Ancestry blog.

Alice on Wheels

Women on Wheels: the story of Australia’s first all girl garage

She was a chauffer, mechanic, tour leader and small business owner: Alice Anderson led a team of female mechanics in Melbourne in the 1920s and even offered Australia’s first regular car service. Loretta Smith told her story to Philip Clark.

How Australia’s female garage owner Alice Anderson helped change social attitudes

In more refined and gentle times, a motorist wouldn’t dream of filling up their own tank.

That’s what service station attendants were for — along with checking the oil, the tyre pressure and cleaning the windscreen. Ladies, in particular, did not pump petrol: their own or anyone else’s.

Unless, as Michelle Toft from the National Motor Museum explains, they were a determined, pioneering woman named Alice Anderson.

“She was the first woman to open and run her own garage in Australia,” Ms Toft said. “In 1919 she opened her garage in Kew, which is a suburb of Melbourne, and she only employed women.”

Alice Anderson

by Loretta Smith
in Traces Magazine

From the end of World War I and into the 1920s, Alice Anderson (1897-1926) was considered nothingless than a national treasure. She was promoted as a woman of ‘rare achievement’ and the press wrote glowingly of Miss Andersons Motor Service, situated in the well-to-do Melbourne suburb of Kew.

Read the full article here.

The Road To Alice

By Loretta Smith
In The Weekend Australian

She ran Australia’s first all-female garage but Alice Anderson needed another challenge. Why not drive her tiny car to the Red Centre?
by Loretta Smith.

Read the full article here.

Meet the Aussie motorhead who started her own ‘garage girls’ company

Born in 1926, Alice Anderson, dressed as a boy, taught herself to drive and fix cars, drive cross-country and trained more than thirty female chauffeurs. Why then, have most Australians never heard of her?

Read the full article here on

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