Driving tests at sea level

Hastings, Vic, May 2023

A blog post by Jacquie Lambert over at World Wide Walkies where she tells us about getting a heavy vehicle license, and a visit to the Hastings Westernport Historical Society jogged some very old memories this week.

Having a few spare minutes before meeting with the ladies at the Historical Society I parked down by the jetty and did a quick rough sketch of the old fish shed that has been lovingly restored. You see, Hastings was a fishing village in the late 19th century and the daily catch was sent, as quickly as possible, up to Melbourne for sale. By the mid-20th century, fishing was overtaken by fruit growing, mainly apples and pears.

Finally getting a license after driving a tractor, a paddock bomb and the family FB Holden Ute was a great excitement. Mum insisted that I take driving lessons from a driving school and the instructor was probably about 10 years older than me. She was a rather vampish woman with loud colourful language and when I botched a reverse park in the heart of Frankston, she opened her door looked at the distance from the kerb, and shouted “FXXX!” to the amusement of passersby.

The driving test was well-known and memorized by all the youth in the district. Our local policeman hopped in the back seat of the car. I drove down High Street to the jetty, where I had to perform a hill start on the ramp that led up to the jetty. Which was barely an incline. After passing that test, it was back up High Street to do a U-Turn on the ‘main’ road remembering to wait until clear of the double lines. Nerves aside, it would have been much harder driving around the orchard at home, especially in the boggy wintertime.

A later look at the sketch that I painted when I got home, there’s that ramp on the left leading up to the fish shed. It’s a big stretch of the imagination to call that a hill!

Footnote: On the farm in the 1950’s and 60’s the only criteria for driving was being able to reach the pedals. From then on there was no stopping us.


4 thoughts on “Driving tests at sea level

  1. At least the policeman came with you for your driving test. In 1963 I was told to drive around the block – alone – and when I did that without incident, got my licence. Won’t say where, but it is part of suburban Melbourne these days.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s