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This stately Crossley landaulette was imported from England to Australia for the 1927 royal tour by the Duke and Duchess of York.

Elevated view of a polished maroon vehicle, with black trim and black leather roof. The car has running boards and mudguards.
Crossley landaulette

British is best

Royal visits by the British monarchy were extremely popular in interwar Australia. Government officials mapped the tour route and arranged road and rail transport to enable significant numbers of Australians to attend.

Entrepreneurs had developed several Australian-made marques, organisers believed that British was best where cars for the royals were concerned.

This car is one of 12 Crossleys manufactured in Manchester and imported for the 1927 tour of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). The Crossley agency lent the cars to the Australian Government for the tour’s duration.

The back of a metal mirror depicting Provisional Parliament House, portraits of the Duke and Duchess, and a map of Australia. - click to view larger image
Souvenir purse mirror, 1927

Touring the country

Like the royal couple themselves, the tour’s appeal lay in its successful combination of  traditional pageantry with modernity. The Duke and Duchess visited all Australian states (except the Northern Territory) between March and May 1927.

The Crossley fleet — four closed limousines, two landaulettes and six open-topped tourers — was equipped for every occasion. The royal progress, a stately drive performed through main streets across the country, allowed the royal couple to see and be seen.

Tourers were commonly used, but landaulettes with a foldable rear hood were preferred for wet weather, informal public duties, or personal use.

An image of three black and white mounted photographs showing a wedding party surrounding a car. - click to view larger image
Alberts family wedding photographs, 1960s

Commonwealth car

After the tour, the Crossleys were returned to the Crossley agency and were promptly sold at a premium. The landaulette in the National Museum's collection reportedly belonged to a Mr Stocks then a Mr Barsley before Victor Alberts, a Sydney collector, purchased it in 1964. The engine had been rebuilt and the bodywork and interior furnishings replaced.

Further treatment was undertaken after 1976, when Alberts sold the car to the Australian Government. Before this car was transferred to the Museum during the 1980s, it was displayed at events including the 1977 royal tour of Queen Elizabeth II.

In our collection

1926 Crossley Landaulette 'Canberra' car used for the 1927 Royal Tour and at the opening of Parliament HouseA maroon and black 1926 Model 18/50hp Crossley type 1L Landaulette 'Canberra' car. Technical specifications include: a 6-cylinder overhead-valve, a 3.8 litre, 2692cc engine; 69mm bore, 120mm stroke cycliner block; a 4-speed gearbox; and 4-wheel drum brakes.
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