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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?