Obtaining a license was different in the earlier days than now!

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 18:39
ThreadID: 108541 Views:2410 Replies:18 FollowUps:6
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I remember going for my c/class license in a J6 Bedford 8ton tipper.

Crash 5speed gear box, Armstrong steering, You had to rock up at the rego office and take the drivng inspector for the ride of his life around town..lol.

I remember this bloke had his favourite steeeeep hill where he made you change back to low gear without having your foot on the brake,Now if anyone knows what the old bedsteads where like in low gear 2mph at 4000rpms,.. when I told him it wasn't possible,he just shrugged his shoulder and said it would!!...so with a mighty rev I double shuffled back to low and bingo it went in, only problem was the old in spector shot forward and hit his head on the windscreen,..Not at all impressed he had the gall to say I needed a lot more practice,....needless to say with a vehicle like that what bloody hope would you have of getting back to low gear with failed brakes and doing 50mph...bit of a joke back then , and still is to-day i guess, but braking systems have come a long way on every thing since then . Cheers Axle
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Reply By: Member - Jim B8 - Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 19:06

Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 19:06
I remember my driving licence, on my 17th, an awkward day.
We lived in Irvinebank, deep in hillbilly country. Brother and I had been driving since 12 out on the dirt roads, learnt well . (sideways)

On my birthday I went into Herberton to get my license to the local police station. In mums car. And I was alone. It could only end badly.
The cop came out, and wrote out my license, just like that. Awkward. He said, you little bast...., I have been trying to catch you for years but you'r too quick. I know you have driven in here in your mum's Kingsy, and believe me I will get you. But theres no point testing you, because If I cant catch you then you can drive.
I nearly pis... myself, said thanks, and went. back to the Kingsy. Awkward. and he never caught me ha ha
A long time ago, 57 baby.
True story
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Reply By: Member - Ross N (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 19:17

Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 19:17
I remember my father telling me that as a lad of 17 ( 1928) he had been driving the bus
between Armidale & Bundarra for some weeks when the local sergeant of police called him to the Police station & said that he had been seen driving the bus & perhaps he should have a licence at which point the sergeant wrote out a licence on the spot.
Those were the days
Ross N

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Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 19:18

Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 19:18
Bit like you Jim
I had been driving for a while on a farm - tractors, an early model Land Rover, etc
I turned 16 on a Sunday in 1960, so I went into the city on the Friday before (the 18th) and explained the situation. No problems, I answered the questions correctly, was issued a license dated that day (18th) and the chap just said "Don't drive until Sunday, otherwise you could get me in strife"
Ah, those were the days :-)
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Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 20:22

Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 20:22
Gday Axle
I went into Nebo some time back to get a local licence on a Sunday morning, spoke nicely to the policeman and within a couple of minutes i had a Queensland licence to drive most anything I wanted bar a" motor trolly" (i think they were an electric bus)

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Reply By: duck - Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 20:24

Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 20:24
My dad was a undertaker so when it was time to go for the test we went in the hearse as the cars had HC plates that I was not legal to drive so when it was time for the test the RTA inspector refused to get in & was only go in one once & that was going to be he's last drive & passed me then & there
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Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 20:59

Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 20:59
When my mother went for her driver's licence, cars were scarce in a small country town. She drove her Father's car to the Police Station and said she wanted to get her driver's licence. The Police officer asked how she got there (which he would have seen). "I drove". "Did you kill anyone?" "No". Driver's licence was granted. It certainly was different in those early days.


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Reply By: Bob R4 - Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 21:11

Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 21:11
Axle, fom memory, I think I got mine in a Weetbix pack. Maybe it was Cornflakes. Watch out, there are still lots of us around.
Cheers, Bob
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Reply By: Member - Terry W4 - Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 22:02

Sunday, Jun 29, 2014 at 22:02
1963 ( I was 18) in Queanbeyan - rocked up to the Motor Registry and was taken on a good drive around town by the inspector. He made me do a left hand turn past a bus and I turned left from a right hand lane. I failed. Shattered I booked another go about 3 weeks later - he asked me to drive him to the post office to pick up his mail. Drove him back to the small MR office - he said PASSED.

Now 50 years later I had my wife driving my Prado for the first time and she turned right from a left hand lane. I was able to explain quite clearly why you don't do it.

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Reply By: mikehzz - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 06:48

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 06:48
The police in Wagga tested me by driving around the block in 1971. No P Plates, straight to a full licence. It wasn't only licencing that was slack. My first car was given to me by a friend. It was an old 1949 Morris Oxford side valve that had be sitting derelict in a back yard, kids had been jumping on the roof forming a swimming pool and there was no back window. I towed it home, kicked the roof out by pushing up with my legs while lying on the back seat, took the head off to check the cylinders, changed the oil, painted it bright yellow with house paint with a brush....2 coats, replaced the battery and drove it to the registry office. It passed rego no problem. That car never did have a back window while I had it....
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Follow Up By: BunderDog - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 05:37

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 05:37
Got mine on May 14th, 1970 and definitely had P plates.
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 10:13

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 10:13
Mate, you are correct. My memory was tricked because a good mate moved to Melbourne where they had just introduced 3 year P's. He came to visit the following year and we had all flipped over to black licences while he was still on P's even though he got his licence a few months earlier than us. We didn't give him a hard time at all.. :-)
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 09:39

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 09:39
Licence testing may have been a little slack in the country where you knew the coppers, however in the cities it could be draconian. The old bastards thought of all sorts of tricks to fail you.

In Parramatta one of their favourites was to look at a likely parking space across a driveway. They would ask you to demonstrate your parking ability there. You would think you had a find job getting it in first time, that is until he failed you for parking across a driveway.

There were other things like having to do a hill start without using the handbrake and doing it without rolling back at all.

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Follow Up By: SDG - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 21:07

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 21:07
There was one in Wagga that use to ask the time. Take your hand off the wheel to look and points were taken off your exam.
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Reply By: bazz - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 09:44

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 09:44
I had my motor bike licence at age 15 , car licence same, used to ride motor bike to high school as did others , thats 2nd year high school, also firearms licence the day I turned 16 , but those are the good old days .... Taranaki NZ
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Reply By: Shaver - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 10:35

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 10:35
Should try getting a License on a Centurian Tank. 5 gears all crash with top speed of 25mph. Changing from 1st to 2nd, 50 tons comes to a dead stop & you start scratching your head & wondering WTF. The trick is that while you do this you must pull on one of the left or right sticks on the final drive as you double shuffle (2 hands). If you ever watch one of these moving you will notice a left or right baulk as the driver changes gears. Going back down is a piece of cake as you don't need to pull the stick.
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Reply By: WayneD - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 11:19

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 11:19
I can remember my dad telling me when he got his licence he drove down to the police station in Scone and the policer officer said " so Arthur how did you get down here"
and Dad said "I drove" and the reply was "well if you bloody well drove down you can bloody well drive home, here's your licence"

I recently had to get my licence here in the USA at the age of 64 having been driving in Oz since age 17" There were 40 questions on computer where you need 100% and then a driving test. Had a guy original from Pakistan do the drive inspection and once I got him talking about himself I think he forgot he was conducting a driving test. There were no reverse parks, which are difficult when your steering wheel is on the left had side, and it took about 15 minutes. They do have a stop sign in the parking lot which is a trick for young layers. Now I can go 15mph over the speed limit. There are no random breath tests and I can get a car about 50% cheaper than in Oz. But I can't go camping without a million others plus big bears and large pussy cats that will eat you!
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 14:34

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 14:34
Went to yosemite for a couple of nights bout this time last year ... that gives a new meaning to crowded.. although the yanks do a great job of managing it and catering for everyone
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Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 11:36

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 11:36
This is a bit of a hobby horse of mine.
Its often these people that got thier license out of a wheeties box that say its too easy for kids to get a license these days...
Its far from easy or cheap compared to how we had it
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Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 11:38

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 11:38
And the local copper passed most (including me) first time so he didn't have to do it again. My city mates at boarding school rarely passed first go
AnswerID: 535258

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 13:32

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 13:32
Local testing officer was notorious for not passing girls on their first license test. Eldest daughter gets taken to Winton(6 hr return trip), does the test and fails. "You weren't scoping enough", he reckons. She's upset and really p*ssed!

Week later, Mum takes her to Boulia(another 6 hr trip), and is tested by the OIC. One reverse park, and a run out to Donohue H'way turnoff, so he could have a "sticky" at the road works, and she's passed. One happy kid :-)

Youngest daughter got her license while at boarding school......as you say, GOM, not so easy then, eh.


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Follow Up By: get outmore - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 14:27

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 14:27
I had done some lessons while at school.
Manual gemini.was good experience learning to drive in the city
When it came to get my license. In the country.
The old family valiant was being a pig.
Tried everything but I couldnt kick off the auto choke after starting so I had to atempt the reverse park at 1500rpm.
The copper picked up straight away id had lessons from my technique and started asking me how many. Where etc.
I stuffed up my first reverse park but he said it was ok. Then we drove round town. Reversed into a road.
Got it up to 80 (my speed limmit) on the highway before a uey and back to the station to do the paperwork
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Reply By: Member - Rob Mac (QLD) - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 21:16

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 21:16
Gidday Axle, my truck license(b class) in WA 1973 (18 yr old) was in a J2 Bedford 40cwt 2 tonner you only needed a 1 tonner to get a truck license those days,had been driving a 12 tonner Bedford for almost a year before that, Dad would drive out to the 7 mile and we would swap seats, he said he could not sleep but could relax not driving. Days gone by aye. Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 21:26

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 21:26
My father said he was carting wheat into town for two years before he turned 17 and could stop in at the police station on one of his many wheat truck trips to get his license. And as it happened in those days they just wrote it out seeing he had been driving in and out of town for two years.

My mother said when she went into town to get her license the copper was in the pub. He agreed to test her and went outside - there was a truck parked there so they 'borrowed' it for a quick lap around the block for the test. She passed but still did not know who owned the truck.

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Reply By: Tony H15 - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 18:19

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 18:19
My first test was on a bike, a 1963 650 BSA Lightning. My old man gave me some advice first: don't go over 30 (MPH), don't accelerate quickly, don't brake quickly, slow to walking speed at all intersections and give clear hand signals (no indicators then). I followed his advice and the copper who accompanied me on his bike failed me. When I asked why, he said 'you can't tell me you you bought a big bike like that Lightning to dawdle around like that' - he then offered me a second test, which I took. This time I rode it like I intended and lost him somewhere in Vic Park. When I finally made it back the the police station, the cop had all the paper work done and handed me my licence. I crashed into an off duty policeman's car three days later and subsequently lost my licence.
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