The demand upon horse traction, which diminished somewhat after the introduction of the safety bicycle receives another check by the importation of automobiles. The first one to come to Tasmania was landed at Hobart on December 24 from the s.s. Papanui to the order of Dr. F. J. Walden, of Sorell being imported by his father, Mr James Walden, -of this city. It was built by the world-renowned Beeston-Humber Co., of Notts, England, and is a three wheeled machine, propelled by a De Dion Bouton motor of 2J horse power. This motor is a marvellous little engine, occupying a very small compass, and uses petrol as fuel. It has special silencing chambers to prevent noise from the exhaust, and radiating plates, which do away with the necessity for water jackets to keep the cylinder cool. The cost of fuel per 100 miles in England is one shilling, so that it will be understood how much cheaper it comes than horse travelling. The Sorell district is an extensive one, with many hilly roads, and the guaranteed speed of Dr. Walden’s machine is from 6 to 30 miles per hour according to his desire or necessity for travelling fast or slow. It has two brakes, one on the front wheel, which presses on the inner rim; the other a very powerful band brake, which operates on the driving axle, and is capable of pulling the machine np in the space of a few feet.
Daily Telegraph, 3 January 1901
The Coming Age.-On Saturday afternoon the third automobile to visit Launceston coughed its way along York-street, and, with a defiant snort at the horses on the adjacent cab stand, drew up at the kerb near Herd’s mart. The crowd that usually gathers in this neighbourhood on market day, taking advantage of the temporary absence of the owners, surrounded the stationary machine until only the hood could be seen from the footpath. Loungers, strollers, busy men farmers, cyclists, and mounted butcher-boys, thinking an accident had happened to an ordinary buggy, all closed in, athirst for information. A dray had drawn up abreast of a lighter vehicle, and a four horse drag pulling up with two wheels in the gutter completed the block in the street. A policeman fought his way through the crowd still he found the weird-looking machine, when, lost in wonder, he forgot that he was a policeman. The owner appeared on the doorstep and laughed to see the commotion his property had caused. He started into the crowd, but was indignantly burled back by several spirited men and boys, who seemed unnecessarily interested in any reply he might have to make to a chorus of “who yer shovin’?” and who indulged in sarcastically incredulous remarks when the discomfited visitor claimed to be the owner of the machine. By going round the outskirts of the crowd, and finding the weakest place, the now irritated young man managed to reach and climb into the vehicle, and after removing the creases from his hat and adjusting his collar, be started his chronic cougher once more, resolved never again to leave it unprotected in the Streets of Launceston.
Examiner, 1 April 1902
(Image, “General view of Renault voiturette” from Wikipedia Commons)