Around 1920 a copy of the Prospectus of the Ballarat Red Cabs and Carriers Limited was lodged with the Registrar General. Hugh Manson Young, the proposed proprietor, had previously installed some of the first taxi-cab fleets. These first taxi-cab fleets were known as the Blue Cans of Australia Ltd. (Syndey), and the Melbourne Red Checker Cabs Ltd. According to the prospectus ‘Recent years had witnessed remarkable development in the motor industry, motor registrations having increased out of recognition. Pleasure and commercial vehicles, motor buses, tractors etc. had all shared in this progress, the outstanding development being the modern closed-in type of taxi-cab.’

The prospectus proclaimed that the purpose of the company was to supply the City of Ballarat and its environs ‘with a thoroughly modern and efficient fleet of taxi-Cabs, livery-Cars, Drive-Yourself Cars, Parcel Delivery Equipment and light Trucking and Hauling’ vehicles. 

The bodies of the vehicles were to be manufactured in Australia and the well-known Dodge chassis was to be used. The Red Cab body provided ‘comfortable seating accommodation for three people on the rear seat, while there [was] room for two more on the auxiliary seats’. The leg room was ample, the new taxi service was described as ‘par excellence’ and ‘with such a degree of efficiency’ that no other company could compete with it.

The provisional directors were Hugh M. Young, an automotive transportation engineer of 10 AMP Chambers, Lydiard Street, Louis Henry Vernon, consulting engineer, 12 AMP Chambers, and Adam Wilson, a merchant of 67 Lydiard Street North. Robert Hamilton Ramsay of 38 Lydiard Street was the solicitor, while D. M. Young the secretary. Later subscribers were John Alexander Daniels, James P. Bradley and Earl G. Haigh.

The first fleet was to comprise of 12 taxi-cabs and 10 ‘moto-cycle Special Delivery carriers’. The cabs, including the ‘fitting out of meters’ and the Special Delivery moto-cycles were to cost £7,200, the equipment, premises, provision of uniforms, registrations, insurance, establishment of telephones and so forth was to cost £1,250 while the issue of shares was to produce £1,550. The Ballarat Red Cab Company would be able to deliver parcels at the cost of 1½d. per mile, ‘ever so much more expeditiously than by horse drawn vehicle’.

The Red Cab was ‘unusually attractive’ with a ‘dignified appearance’ providing ‘luxurious comfort’ and it was assumed that after its first appearance on the Ballarat streets it would be the ‘logical choice of discriminating taxi patrons’. 

Have any of the readers heard of the Red Cab taxi service, or maybe even ridden in one of these contraptions?

Ballarat Red Cabs RHS Carriage