The Historic Plate Register Project: the Single Digit Historic Plates SA "1" to SA "9"


The South Australian Historic Plate Register Project- The Single Digits



The SA Historic Plate Register Project: the history of each notable SA Historic Plate

 Here is proud to begin the project of researching, documenting and publishing the history of each individual SA historic plate. Over the years I have unearthed a virtual treasure trove of research materials, photos and historic documents and we will over time publish this information here.


Whilst I'd much rather collect historic plate deals than pictures of plates on cars, over time researching and recording the history of our early plates has been a labor of love, and I take the view that it's important for the historical record for me to document the path through South Aussie history that these special historic plates have made.

I have a cherished plate that I have photo documentation of on many various vehicles throughout the period 1906, when the plate was first issued, up to the present day. This inspired me to replicate this across all the interesting, low SA historic number plates.


 above: 40/50 Gran Sport Delage body by the coachbuilder Saoutchik, owned by C.H. Angas' of Collingrove, Angaston SA c.1924 featuring historic plate SA "119"


The South Australian Single Digit Historic Plates; SA “1” to SA “9”

Please note: All material is copyright and may not be reproduced or replicated in any way.

Here presents a snapshot of the history of plates SA 1-9, the elusive single digit numbers

Of the nine single digit historic plates the rights to only four are understood by us to have been sold, with SA 3 the lowest historic plate to have been allocated with proprietary rights.


SA single digit historic plates- a summary

- We understand only five single digit SA historic plates have been sold with full rights: SA “3”, SA "4", SA “6”, SA “7” and SA “9”. 

- The other single digit numbers remain registered on a mix of classic era cars, bikes and in one instance we know of, a trailer.

- Of these four single digits that have been sold, the proprietary rights to these are owned by three individuals.

- One astute investor owns the rights to SA “3” and  SA “6” having secured them at The Great Plate Auction 1985, and he also owns the light metallic blue ex- Sir Brian Swift Jaguar S Type that is registered with SA “5” (see SA "5" entry following). We understand that this car is registered with SA “5” under restricted rights, and although the owner has attempted on several occasions to purchase the rights to his number the Proprietary Rights not have been obtained to SA “5” as the Department will not issue them to him. As this is plate has not been sold with "Rights" we have not counted it in the "master four"  single digit plates with rights.

- All the remaining plates are tightly held in long term ownership, are in continuous registration on a mix of vehicles and are unlikely to ever come up for private sale, as without Proprietary/Class Rights they are unable to be "traded".

So, for now, of the nine possible single digit Historic Plates plates only five individual plates, SA "3", SA "4", SA "6" SA "7" and SA "9" have been sold with "rights" and thus are available to be traded or re-sold to new owners.







First Registered Owner: W.A. Hargreaves

Address: Woodville SA

March 1907 Vehicle: Beeston Humber 6/2

March 1908 Vehicle: De Dion 10

Proprietary Rights Sold: No

Current Owner:  known


WA Hargreaves was an Employee of the Engineering and Water Supply Department and was a Government chemical analyst, and held the office of the Government inspector of explosives. He was also a long time committee member of the Automobile Club of SA.

Today: Historic plate SA'1' is registered on a vintage Ford Thames Glenelg Dry Cleaning business delivery van – and has been registered on this car & in the same name since 1952. At the same time its believed plate 1 may also be registered on a trailer, being a different class of vehicle. have had a confidential chat with the registered owners of SA1 and we seek and additional photos of the original plate on ant of the SA '1' vehicles.

for more information, please click on the link below to our web page deicated to SA "1" :

SA “2”

First Registered Owner: Peter Waite, Glen Osmond.

First Registered Owner: Peter Waite

Address:  Urrbrae” Glen Osmond

March 1907 Vehicle: Talbot 15

March 1908 Vehicle: Talbot 15

Proprietary Rights Sold: No

Current Owner:  known


Peter Waite was a wealthy Adelaide pastoralist and philanthropist, and was based at Urrbrae House, now the University of Adelaide’s & CSIRO Waite Institute campus. The above picture was taken at the avenue of trees, still there today, on the western edge of Victoria Park in the city. The car is a Darracq and it is believed that plate 2, as clearly can be seen here, was both registered to Peter Waite and was licensed by the Adelaide City Council to W.H. Oliver for use on a licensed hire car.

This is another quirk of SA historic plate history, as the council issued eleven numbers (1-11) in the six months to January 1906 for use on licensed hire cars. Amazingly the A.C.C. issued these number plates six months before the Government plates became obligatory in September. Later, hire cars were licensed with a leading A in the plate.

(above image is illustrative only)

Today: It is believed the plate is both registered to a private vehicle and also to a "trailer" registered to a government department.

Like historic plate SA "1", it is understood plate SA"2" falls into the category where the plate has been, for a long period, registered to two different vintage vehicles.


Research Update 3.5.11: Further information has been presented to us (with thanks) regarding the current status of SA "2". The plate is still registered on a classic era car, which I understand to be a green Holden EH  Premier from the mid-60's. This would make sense, as the EH would have received the plate prior to the 1967 Alpha-Numeric plate changover, so it has been able to retain it's number in the ensuing years whilst registered to the existing owner.

We understand too that it is registered to a descendant of the Waite family, on this EH Holden that was first owned by Peter Waite's daughter.




More period photos are sought of the plate SA "2".




SA “3” - currently for sale by

First Registered Owner: Dr J.B. Gunson

Address:  Angas St, Adelaide

March 1907 Vehicle: Darracq 8

March 1908 Vehicle: Darracq 8



Proprietary Rights Sold: Yes- sold at the 1985 The Great Plate Auction for $11, 000 SA “3” is the lowest SA historic plate rights have been sold to.

Current Owner:  known

Doctors are prominent on the list of early registrations as the car provided a convenient means to visit patients.  Indeed, of the first twenty cars registered in SA eight owners were Doctors. The first doctor to obtain a registration was J.B.Gunson, who registered historic plate SA3 on an 8 h.p. Darracq.

Today: Sold at the 1985 “The Great Plate Auction” where it was lot number 6 and is now in the same long term private ownership.




Held in it's original ownership since The Great Plate Auction in 1985 and registered today on a 5 Series BMW.



SA “4”

First Registered Owner: Dr A. M. Cudmore

Address:  North Tce, Adelaide

March 1907 Vehicle: Darracq 8

March 1908 Vehicle: Darracq 8

Proprietary Rights Sold: No

Current Owner:  known


Today: current location known. We’ve undertaken some research and according to the rare vintage registration records of we understand that pre Alpha-Numeric plates, in 1963, the last vehicle SA4 was registered to was a Daimler which we understand to have been an SP250, and  that the plate was still in  the hands of the original 1906 owner's descendants. We had heard rumors for some time that Proprietary Rights had been obtained to this number, sometime soon after the 1985 The Great Plate Auction. 

SA'4' is the  second lowest SA Historic Plate on issue, and is one of the very special single digit plates with Rights. The plate changed hands in October 2012 and was secured by an astute client of ours.


SA “5”





Delivered new by Brysons in 1966, registered to Sir Brian Swift with his number SA "5" from new and in the current ownership since 1971.


First Registered Owner: Dr. H. Swift

Address:  Victoria Square, Adelaide

March 1907 Vehicle: Talbot 10/12

March 1908 Vehicle: Talbot 10/12

Proprietary Rights Sold: No

Current Owner:  known


Today: The plate passed to Dr Sir Brian H. Swift, and was last registered on his personal light metallic blue S Type Jaguar in 1966.

In 1965 the plate was registered to a “22.6 h.p.” Rover, which was registered on 19.10.65 and is listed in the rare records held by

These records show that the following year on 11.3.66 Sir Brian registered the plate to a “25.6 h.p.” Jaguar, an S Type saloon, and today SA "5" is still registered on this vehicle, which is in private, long term ownership by a client of



Lady Swift, Sir Brian's wife personally offered the current owner the car in 1971 as she knew him personally and knew of his interest in Jaguars and in number plates. The car was in regular use and still has low mileage and is in fantastic original condition today.





Remember the old registration labels. Brilliant- look closely.




We love the original Lykke Plates. Large rear UK sized plate and long UK sized front plate. Both are a little "wonky"- not like the usual quality of the Lykke plates. You'd think that back in 1966 they'd get "5" straight and true on this special plate.


SA “6” - currently for sale by

First Registered Owner: F. Gordon Ayres

Address:  “Austral House” North Terrace, Adelaide

March 1907 Vehicle: Minerva 14

March 1908 Vehicle: Minerva 14

Proprietary Rights Sold: Yes- sold at the 1985 The Great Plate Auction for $6,500 SA “6” is the second lowest SA historic plate that rights have been sold to.

Current Owner:  known



F.G. Ayres was the grandson of Sir Henry, residing in the family home on North Terrace “Austral House” (later renamed Ayres House). The family had extensive SA interests; the most prominent of Sir Henry’s being as Secretary and a shareholder in the SA Mining Association which mined the lucrative Burra Burra copper mines.

In 1966, the final year historic numeric plates were issued, the old records held by show that SA “6” was registered on 4.8.1966 to a “51.2 h.p.” Chevrolet that was owned by the S.A. Stevedoring Co Pty Ltd of Port Adelaide. 

Today: Historic plate SA6 was sold at the 1985 “The Great Plate Auction” where is was lot number 7 and is now in the same long term private ownership.




First Registered Owner: Dr. A.M. Morgan

Address: North Terrace, Adelaide.

March 1907 Vehicle: Coventry Humber 12

March 1908 Vehicle: Coventry Humber 12

Proprietary Rights Sold: Yes- sold by public tender in 1993 SA “7” is the third lowest SA historic plate that rights have been sold to.

Current Owner:  known, a valued client of ours at


The Morgan family held plate 7 from 1906 through to 1967 when the advent of alpha-numeric plates and the corresponding change in rules around plate transfer prevented them from re-issuing the plate to another car.


SA "7", obviously the seventh registration number on a motor cycle, was issued to D.W. Bruce of Norwood in 1906. The picture above is c.1913 at a Motor Cycle Club of SA outing. It's a quirk of our old laws that the plate was also registered on a motor cycle (see historic plate history page) at or around this time. Also, at some point in the following decades a third class of vehicle, we understand to be a trailer, received the plate SA "7".

The trailer became unregistered in about 1988, and with the cycle long since unregistered and the Morgan car unable to transfer it's number after 1966, after waiting the five year period for the trailer's registration to lapse the Department of Transport resumed plate SA"7" and offered it at via public tender. SA"7" was pictured in the lead up to the tender closing in The Advertiser in March 1993 with Adriana Xenides (a Channel 7 personality), an Austin 7 and a new $140,000 1993 BMW 7 series.

The newspaper article states that "similar plates in other states have sold recently for more than $30,000 and it is believed this one could fetch about $20,000".

see the article here:

Knowing what it did eventually sell for, we can advise that in 1993, the single digit historic plate SA 7 was a far more astute investment than the BMW or Austin 7 would have been. As a footnote, I understand this plate has always subsequently been registered to a Mercedes-Benz.

Today: sold by public tender in 1993- now in private ownership and owned by a client of

NOTE: further information is known but is not published to guard the owner’s privacy.


SA “8”


First Registered Owner: A.E. Ayers

Address: King William St, Adelaide.

March 1907 Vehicle: Talbot 12/16

March 1908 Vehicle: Coventry Humber 24

Proprietary Rights Sold: No- understood that Restricted Rights have been obtained in order to retain the historic plate on a classic era car.

Current Owner:  known

Today: understood to currently be registered to a classic era Mercedes-Benz coupe which has been in long term family ownership. NOTE: further information is known but is not published to guard the owner’s privacy.

SA “9”

First Registered Owner: A. Waterhouse

Address: East Terrace, Adelaide

March 1907 Vehicle: Darracq 15

March 1908 Vehicle: Talbot 15

Proprietary Rights Sold: Yes- sold at the 1985 The Great Plate Auction for $7,000 SA “9” is the fourth lowest SA historic plate that rights have been sold to.


Current Owner:  known


Arthur Waterhouse Esq. was the chairman of the Bank of Adelaide, and has a famous motoring connection in that his nephew was W.O. Bentley, founder of Bentley Motors in the UK. According to legend Waterhouse only drove in open cars and “had a reputation as a fast and reckless driver**”; his wife had her own car as she would only drive in a closed saloon and the two rarely travelled together. Her car was registered to her husband with historic plate no. SA “295”. 

Today: A “The Great Plate Auction” plate, the plate was then sold for $7000 and subsequently changed hands post the Great Plate Auction 1985, in a deal that included a two digit plate also. Now in long term private ownership; ownership trail known but not published to guard the owner’s privacy.


Do you have information to add to the SA Historic Plate Register Project......?

Do get in touch!