Nothing inspires the imagination of both the public and enthusiasts alike quite like a round Australia trial. During the 1950s with the advent of the family car, the idea of travelling such great distances on our island continent became a reality. It is perhaps little wonder that a series of long distance car trials were conducted in that period. “REDeX” became a household name!
Roads back then were often poor, especially in the outback. The density of population was such that a rally could be conducted without significant concerns for the safety of the public. As the years went by, the roads improved, safety concerns grew, and it became more difficult to conduct such long distance “open road” events.
Arguably the last great Round Australia Trial was the 1979 Repco Reliability Trial, and subsequently the 1995 Mobil 1 Trial was a quite different kind of event mostly decided over shorter special stages. Perhaps the last event to claim to be a round Australia rally was the 1998 Playstation Rally, with even more of the competition being conducted on closed roads and private property.
The definitive history of round Australia trials is Hal Maloney’s book, Long Distance Trials in Australia.
For competitor interviews from three of the Round Australia Trials in the 1950s, visit our page with the Lox McGrath collection.