thumbnails for enlargements.
The National Roads and Motorists' Association was formed in Sydney in 1923,
having evolved from an earlier organisation, the National Roads
Association. The NRMA commenced operations at the beginning of 1924
and the first car badges were introduced that year. These badges were of a
handsome design with blue enamel on a nickel background, and were made by both
Craftsmen Enamellers and Angus & Coote of Sydney. Two sizes were available,
a 3.5 inch (90mm) diameter badge for cars and a 3 inch (75mm) badge
for motor cycles and light cars.
This 90mm badge is an Angus & Coote version numbered 10299. It is
displayed with optional wings which could be purchased for 3 shillings a pair.
Badge No. C72 is an early Craftsmen Enamellers version of Type 1 (90mm)
The Angus & Coote 90mm badges were available without a base to facilitate
alternative methods of mounting on a car. In this case brass pins have been
added to enable the badge to be mounted through the honeycomb core of a
radiator. Badges of this type were numbered as a 30,xxx series, this being badge
No.30181. Note the difference in the shape of the NRMA letters compared to the
two previous examples. (Type 1).
This is an example of a 75mm badge made by Craftsmen Enamellers and
numbered 55781. (Type 1a).
In 1930 a new style of badge was introduced which was a simple
fretted-out chrome plated brass design, cheaper to manufacture than its
enamelled predecessors and more affordable in the austere depression era. This
design was to continue almost unchanged until 1977. The initial issue of the new
design had thick (6-7mm) cast wings of Mercury and were numbered (Type2). Later
badges had the wings reduced in thickness to about 3-4mm (Type2a).
The Type 2 badge shown here is No.6120 and the three badges below are various
versions of Type2a.
In addition to the tang fitting design shown in the above photos, the new
badge style was also available with a bolt base to enable fitting to a
radiator cap or dumb iron. Several examples of these are shown below. (Type
2b). The left hand badge, No21888, has thicker and heavier wings than the later
In 1977 the long running Type 2 badges were replaced with a smaller version
more easily fitted to the modern car grilles of the time. Initially the badges
were of metal with dark blue colouring, followed by a version with a lighter
blue. Around 1980 the metal badges were replaced by a plastic version. (Type
In 1974 a 50 years member badge was introduced and presented to members who
had joined the association in its inaugural year. These badges continued to be
presented to members as they attained 50 years of membership.
From about 1995 the NRMA ceased issuing 50 year member badges and replaced
them with a small plaque mounted on a polished wooden block for desk
display. Two different styles are known and one type is shown here.
The last style of car badge to be issued by the NRMA (Type 4), reflecting a
change in corporate identity, was introduced in 1989 and was available
until 1996, when car badges were discontinued.
Coinciding with the introduction of the Type 4 badge, 25 and 50 year
membership badges were issued in the new corporate design. Both 25 and 50 year
badges came in a presentation cloth bag.
Honour badges were introduced by the NRMA in 1933 and were
awarded to members who performed meritorious service to the motorists of New
South Wales. This service could include participation in an NRMA membership
drive by introducing at least two new members to the club, which was
increased to five after WW2. The design was similar to the standard members
badge with the addition of a laurel wreath and an enamel section bearing the
words Honour Badge and a Roman Fasces. In ancient Greek and
Roman societies the laurel wreath was worn as a sign of honour by emperors,
senators and other high ranking persons. The Roman Fasces consisted of a bundle
of white birch rods bound together with red leather and was also a
symbol of honour. The use of these two symbols in the NRMA Honour badge created
one of the most stylish of the Australian car badges. This is badge No.115,
issued to Herbert Charles Uden of Campsie, NSW, in 1940.
The badge on the left is something of an enigma. The basic badge is
identical to the first series of Honour badges issued in the 1930s, which were a
heavier version than that shown above from 1940. Also, the wings differ in
shape, with the tips pointing downwards rather than slightly upwards. This basic
style was only ever used for honour badges as far as can be ascertained, so this
example, with its lack of a wreath and enamel section, appears to be
an unused blank. How this escaped the maker's hands and came to be stamped with
the name J.A. McGregor will probably remain a mystery. Also, the number 499843
crudely stamped onto the badge is of uncertain meaning. It may possibly have
been an NRMA membership number or even a phone number from the 1960s, when
6 digits were in use. Any ideas anyone?
In 2004 the NRMA made a limited edition issue of commemorative car badges in
the style of the badges issued between 1930 and 1977, to mark 80 years of road
service to members. This example is No.108. These badges were issued as a boxed
set with a wooden desk stand and a lapel badge of similar design.
Text and photographs on this page are
Further information on the history of the NRMA is to be found at http://www.mynrma.com.au/cps/rde/xchg/mynrma/hs.xsl/nrma_history.htm