Florence Thomson Tour 2018

RoyalAuto magazine

Eighty years of classic cars and their female drivers hit the road in tribute to a motoring pioneer.

Photos by Meredith O’Shea.


Heather Gingell of Ballarat with her 1970 MG Midget.

April 26 2018  Victoria’s Goldfields region played host to a procession of female-powered classic cars on the weekend in celebration of Australian motoring pioneer Florence Thomson.

Two hundred Florence fans took part in the second RACV Florence Thomson Tour, which set out from RACV Goldfields Resort in Creswick and meandered 130 kilometres through the back roads and byways of the Goldfields region via Clunes, Talbot and Beaufort before arriving at Mooramong homestead near Skipton.

Jan Tamis

Jan Bartholomew

Among the 80 historic cars that took part, a 1912 Model 59 Overland Tourer hit the road with a 1930 Ford Model A Sports Coupe, a 1958 Austin Healey Sprite and a 1976 Datsun 260Z.

The tour celebrates the indomitable Florence Thomson, who was the only female entrant in the 1905 Dunlop Reliability Motor contest from Sydney to Melbourne, a 920-kilometre journey over what was then essentially a horse track between the two cities. She was one of only 16 contestants to finish the five-day trial.

Norm and Heather Darwin from Ballarat with their 1970 Pontiac Firebird.

RACV motoring interests manager Daryl Meek describes the tour as an event with a difference.

“It focuses on an under-represented section of the motoring community and serves not only to celebrate the courageous women throughout history, but also to recognise the contribution that women bring to modern Australian motoring.”

Maggie Cripps of Parkdale and her 1912 Model 59 Overland Tourer.