10 Fantastic Facts About Number Plates in Australia

Ever played the number plate game on a road trip? You know, the one where you make phrases with words that start with the letters of the plate in front of you? It’s no iSpy but anything to kill time, right? Here’s another game you can thank us for later – sharing these facts about number plates in Australia.

Five Fast Facts About Number Plates

Yep, we know you’re excited to know that…

  1. The first Australian car driving licence was issued in Adelaide on 10 September 1906 but number plates didn’t start being allocated until 1910, starting from the number 1
  2. Why do we need them? Number plates are issued by Australia’s state, territory and Commonwealth governments, as well as our armed forces, as part of a vehicle’s registration
  3. It’s said that when the “Vic 1” number plate was released in 1932, the governor, premier and police commissioner had a big argument over who should have it. In the end, none were successful and the plate was locked into a vault at the Motor Registration Board until it was sold at auction in 1984
  4. In 1948 the Australian Transport Council decided to allocate alpha-numeric number plates to all states and territories. The bigger jurisdictions, like NSW, were given a range of letters while the ACT was given a single letter – Y 
  5. Today, number plates still feature the state or territory acronym but more recently released plates no longer include the state/territory colour and slogan. Plenty of people now primp their car with personalised plates – you can even choose a background theme (cats, anyone?)
facts about number plates include cats

Another Five Fast Facts About Number Plates

Still reading? Just can’t get enough facts about number plates in Australia? OK then, fasten your seatbelt…

  1. Australia has an active Number Plate Collectors Club, which formed in 1981 after the inaugural (and no doubt fascinating) number plate collectors’ convention in Mildura VIC. It now has over 400 members and even has a quarterly newsletter – check out the first edition 
  2. Why do people collect? One reason is investment. Number plates hold value for several reasons, with the most valuable being heritage plates featuring one single low number
  3. However, apparently the real value lies in the right to display the number plate on your vehicle. It’s said that many heritage plate owners mount reproductions on their car so the real thing doesn’t get stolen or damaged
  4. In March 2020 a heritage Victorian number plate with the number 26 sold for $1.1 MILLION. Its guiding price range was $600-$700k and it had last been sold for between $70-$80k back in 2000. That’s some profit, right there…
  5. But $1.1m is nothing – the record is held in NSW for the number 4 plate, which sold for $2.45m in 2017 to a Chinese-Australian sex toy magnate. He arrived at the auction in a Ferrari featuring the number 2 plate. Keen bean!

So, there you go. Enough facts about number plates in Australia to keep your posse calm between toilet stops.

And none involve car insurance – but if you’re interested in that we can do a quick online quote for you. Who knows, you might end up with more money to spend during your driving adventure.

Happy road tripping 😊

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