I am a military historian with an interest in the Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps (especially in Tasmania). I have written a paper on their history and have a photo of James Boag in his car. I also have an AVAC car badge. Would you have any additional material or photographs of the AVAC in Tasmania? Regards, Doug Wyatt

Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps - James Boag
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A newspaper clipping from the Weekly Courier, 20 April 1911.
**Lieutenant James Boag, member of the Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps, brewery owner and retired artillery officer is in the passenger seat of 35hp Talbot car, Tasmania Military District Encampment, at Ross, Easter 1911**

Unfortunately for Mr Wyatt, we weren’t in a position to help with the information he was after. We did pass on his request to Phil Costello, the Manager of the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania. And we’re sharing the information and photos supplied by Doug Wyatt in the hope that one of our readers may be of assistance.

Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps - Car Badge owned by Doug Wyatt
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Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps Car Badge owned by Doug Wyatt

We asked Carol Haberle, our doyen when it comes to all things Tasmanian history (and an abundance of other local topics), if she would write a brief introduction for us. She has done so, and says “now you have me intrigued with the history of the Boags family and the breweries”. With any luck then, we can anticipate another article down the track about Boags beer through the ages. Good one!

Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps

by Carol Haberle

The formation of an Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps was approved by the Government in Commonwealth Gazette No. 22 of 9th May 1908 and Military Order 119 of 1908. Cars were provided at no cost by the owners and all members were given the provisional rank of Lieutenant in the Australian Army, and given an allowance of 12/6d per day while on duty (chauffeurs received 5/- per day). Members were often drawn from state automobile clubs, although AVAC was a unit of the army. Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps provided Commonwealth military motor transport. The AVAC was disbanded in 1915 after the army decided to supply mechanical transport of its own in 1914.

This quote comes from a website by Peter Cornell. To see more, please visit Car Badges of Australia.

Lieutenant James Boag

A Tasmanian section of AVAC was raised in 1910, in the form of retired artillery officer, Lieutenant James Boag (son of brewer, James Boag I). Boag was recommissioned, possibly after having provided his car for Kitchener during his visit. AVAC was a volunteer corps, but was treated seriously, with six officers by 1914. The officers attended General Staff courses and also sat for promotion examinations. Map reading was meant to be their forte, but members did not seem to achieve high results in this.

James Boag II was the son of James Boag I, a brewer (of the well-known Boags Brewery business), and his wife Janet Swan (1823-1880). James II was born in Launceston in 1854, the year after his parents and four older siblings migrated from Paisley, Scotland. James II married Elizabeth Edwards on 24 Nov 1880 at the Holy Trinity Church, Launceston. They had nine children between 1881 and 1897.

You can follow Carol Haberle on Facebook at Haberle Photo Cards
Carol writes feature articles for this website about all things Tasmanian.
If you’d like Carol to visit you, please contact Think Tasmania.

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If anyone has information, material or photographs that might be useful, please contact Doug Wyatt. You can also read his comprehensive research paper about the Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps.