Alice Anderson: Pioneering Women in the World of Wheels
Early Challenges and Unconventional Beginnings
Defying Expectations and Breaking Stereotypes
The Birth of a Garage, An Innovator, & an Inventor
At the age of 20, Alice started working as a chauffeur, a role that laid the foundation for her groundbreaking career. However, she didn’t stop there. Soon after, she transformed a house in Kew into an auto workshop, laying the cornerstone for Australia’s first all-female garage, the Art Deco-fronted Kew Garage, all by the tender age of 22.
Alice was more than just a mechanic; she was an inventor and entrepreneur. Her innovative spirit gave rise to the ‘Radi-waiter,’ a flask that could keep beverages warm by attaching to radiators, allowing her customers to enjoy a piping-hot cup of tea or a warm meal on their day trips.
Unrecognised Genius: The Birth of the Creeper
A Motto to Live By
Alice’s personal motto, “Qui ne risque rien n’a rien” in French for “He who risks nothing has nothing,” reflected her fearless spirit. She proudly wore this saying on her tiepin and business cards, honouring her heroine, Joan of Arc. But her ambitions extended beyond the garage doors.
Empowering Women Through Education
Elevating a Trade to a Profession
The Unprecedented Journey
In August 1926, she left her garage in the hands of her employees to embark on a daring adventure. Setting out in her brand-new ’26 Austin 7, she embarked on an unprecedented journey from Melbourne to Alice Springs. Today, this might seem like a classic car club excursion, but back then, it was unheard of. She even removed her Baby Austin’s doors to accommodate the supplies needed for the journey.