Sunday 15th July 1928
Francis Birtles driving a 14 hp Bean, arrived in Sydney to complete the first overland trip from England to Australia by car. He departed from Australia House in London on 19 October 1927, farewelled by a crowd of wellwishers including the 1927 Miss Australia. In an era when there were few roads and gasoline supplies sparse, the epic eight-month journey carried him across mountains, deserts and through tropical jungles and included a number of sea voyages – the last being from Singapore to Darwin. He travelled via Europe, Egypt, Persia (now Iran), India, Burma and Malaya. On arrival in Darwin, his car was seized by customs officials demanding import duty, until direct intervention by the Prime Minister Stanley Bruce averted the situation. He continued south via Brisbane and Sydney to the official finishing point of the journey at the General Post Office on Elizabeth Street, Melbourne on 25 July 1928. He was promptly asked to move on by a policeman for obstructing traffic. The journey was not repeated until 1955.