The fascinating story of Alice Anderson and her ‘garage girls’ is on the road to Birdwood. Anderson was Australia’s first female garage proprietor and employed an all-female staff with the ambition to turn garage work into a suitable career for women. She opened her garage, ‘Alice Anderson’s Motor Service’ in 1919 after she purchased a block of land in Kew, Victoria offering petrol sales, vehicle repairs, a driving school, a 24-hour chauffer experience and organised tourist parties on interstate trips. Anderson was a pioneer in the automotive industry with her achievements including but not limited to being the first person to invent a wheelie device to roll under cars, similar to those used in garages today. Her death in 1926 at the young age of 29 remains a mystery and continues to be investigated as to whether it was an accident or suicide that ended her life.
The exhibition at the National Motor Museum will recreate Anderson’s garage and explore her life through the challenges and obstacles she faced, most predominantly what it was like to be a woman in the automotive industry during the early 20th Century. It will also celebrate the vast and varied achievements she accumulated whilst also looking into the lives of her ‘garage girls.’