RAA of South Australia expands services but roadside help stays central beyond century

The RAA's city branch has returned to its historical home in Hindmarsh Square.

The Royal Automobile Association (RAA) of South Australia responds to more than 600,000 calls for emergency roadside help each year, with over 90% of problems fixed at the roadside.

Emergency roadside help has remained the core of ever-expanding RAA services. The early 1950s saw a massive increase in car ownership and spiralling RAA membership, soaring past 75,000.

Road service changed with the familiar motorcycle outfits replaced by vans. Guides became patrols and used two-way radio, operating 24 hours a day out of new premises in North Adelaide.

As motoring and membership kept growing, the RAA moved into larger headquarters, built technical premises, began office and vehicle inspection centres in the suburbs, set up staffed offices in major country areas and started its march into the computer age. In the 1980s, the mapping department moved from pen-and-ink drawing to scribing and on to computer mapping.

RAA was the first motoring organisation in the world with a battery replacement service and Australia’s first to produce a computer CD with touring information.
Such innovations built on established services: 24-hour emergency breakdown, vehicle inspection, motoring advocacy, road safety, legal services, technical advice, travel services, security, tour planning, accommodation booking and insurance.

Since RAA’s 100th anniversary in 2003, it has continued to improve and modernise, with new headquarters at Mile End. In 2009, the city branch returned to its historical and sentimental home in Hindmarsh Square.

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Holden's goes from a saddlery in 1856 to making car bodies for American giants

The Holden story began in 1856 when James Alexander Holden set up a saddlery business in Adelaide. In 1885, German-born Henry Frederick Frost joined the business which become Holden & Frost and moved into minor repairs to car upholstery. Holden in 1919 became Holden's Motor Body Builders (HMBB), specialising in car bodies and using a building on King William Street. By 1923, HMBB was producing 12,000 units per year, for Ford and then exclusively for General Motors. 

Bicycles banned from Adelaide footpaths in 1874 as the popularity of cycling sweeps the city

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