Rare Badges & Clubs 3.

Click thumbnails for enlargements.

Motor Users' Association.

The Motor Users' Association was formed in the State of Victoria in late 1926. Soon after formation it commenced an agressive membership drive through advertising in the local press. The association offered various services including "Guides on the Road; Technical Assistance; 'Get You Home' Towing Service; Legal Defence and Advice; Touring and Camping Facilities; Licence Reminder Service and The Best, Cheapest, and Most Comprehensive Insurance Policy in Australia!" to quote from one of the early advertisements. Annual subscription was set at 1/1/-. The secretary of the association was Harry Witty and offices were at 57 Queen Street in central Melbourne. To what extent the MUA was able to deliver on its promised services is not known, but by 1928 it had certainly achieved the publication of touring maps and the provision of guide services. The MUA's motto was "Service and Defence", a reference to its proposed role in defending motorists against the various taxes and levies being imposed by governments at the time.

The association's car badge is certainly the most elaborate ever issued by any Australian motoring organisation and was of silver plated and enamelled brass. The design was the result of a competition run in the Melbourne Herald newspaper during 1926.  How long the organisation survived is not known however I have discovered a reference to it in the Canberra Times newspaper in 1933, but it was not listed in Motor Trade Directories by 1936-37  

There are two badges in this collection. The badge illustrated above is No. 407 and is mounted on a base for radiator cap mounting - the most common form of mounting in that era. The badge shown below, No. 398, is an even rarer example which was issued without a base, for flush mounting on a dash or radiator core. Many motoring organisations issued small numbers of badges without bases to cater for motorists who wished to have a figurine mascot on the radiator cap and mount the organisation's badge elsewhere on the vehicle. Badge manufacturers were happy to oblige and in this case the manufacturer, Stokes & Sons of Melbourne, fixed a small plate with the number on the rear of the badge.



Northern Motorists Association of New South Wales.

By the middle 1920s motorists in areas of NSW outside Sydney were seeking the kind of services provided in and around the capital city by the NRMA and RACA. In Armidale, a city on the NSW Northern Tablelands, the Northern Motorists Association of NSW was formed in May 1926 to meet the needs of local motorists. The NMA was formed largely through the influence of a local garage owner, Charles Purkiss of the Rink Garage, and membership was fixed at 1/1/- per year. The organisation claimed to offer roadside service, touring advice and a guide service within 50 miles of Armidale. Initially Armidale Motors Ltd. and the Rink Garage were the dominant providers of these services, but later other garages joined as well. The NMA car badge was similar in design to that of the NRMA but used red and white enamel. Unfortunately, the white enamel was of poor quality and in most of the surviving badges the white has become chalky and suffered road damage. Fortunately my badge No.765 has perfectly original enamel. Membership of the NMA must have been significant for such a regional area, as this badge number would indicate. The ultimate fate of the NMA is not clear and I assume that, as the NRMA expanded its activities into country areas, it was able to offer a more comprehensive range of services, resulting in the eventual demise of the NMA.

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