Australian License Plates

In the era before widespread electronics, the common activity for kids in backseat of a car during a road trip was to collect license plates. At some point I had a sticker book with plates for each US state, and when I saw a new out of state plate, I transferred the sticker to the appropriate page. This sticker book is long gone.

You could learn about the country that way, in a sense there was a spatial distribution following a gravity like process. Maryland came first, followed by nearby states like Virginia and Pennsylvania, and DC. Texas or California would come up occasionally, though not as often as New York. But finding an Hawaii or Alaska plate was practically impossible.

Australia is simpler, with fewer plates, and on one stretch of road in Sydney, I scored a bunch. In short I learned

  • New South Wales is the First State (Sorry Delaware)
  • Western Australia is the Golden State (Sorry California)
  • Queensland is the Sunshine State (Sorry South Dakota)
  • Victoria is the Education State. It used to be the Garden State (Sorry New Jersey)

I did not see Tasmania (Explore the Possibilities), South Australia (The Festival State), Northern Territory (Outback Australia), or ACT (Canberra – The Nation’s Capital) here, but everything you ever wanted to know about Australian Vehicle Registration plates can be found at wikipedia. The designs and slogans change over time. None are as cool as DC’s Taxation without Representation plates.

I will just say, some of the newer US plates are far more attractive.