What You Need to Know About Royal Automobile Club Australia

What You Need to Know About Royal Automobile Club Australia

The Royal Automobile Club Australia (RACA) is an Australian motoring organization that has also incorporated the Australian Imperial Services Club since 1987. The RACA was founded in March 1903 in Sydney and is Australia’s oldest motoring club. It was founded by Henry Alfred, Harrie Skinner, W.E. Fisher, and H.A. Jones. 

The Royal Automobile Club of Australia played an important role in shaping early motoring legislation, protecting motorists’ rights, and establishing motorsport in Australia. The organization used to provide roadside assistance and insurance, but in 1945, in an agreement with the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA), it ceased offering these services, with members gaining reciprocal access to NRMA-provided services.

History Of RACA

The history of the Royal Automobile Club of Australia is about the introduction of the automobile, which caused major changes in our society. Since 1903, the Club has reflected a history of innovation and vision through the automobile, the introduction of which has irreversibly changed the face of our society. Throughout the club’s history, members have participated in a variety of social activities centered on the automobile. While interests have broadened, travel, touring, and collecting automobiles and memorabilia have remained important pursuits.


The Automobile Club of Australia was established to “promote motoring and assist motorists.” In March 1903, Henry Skinner convened a meeting of interested parties, and in October of that year, H. A. Jones was elected as the first President. The club’s colors were red, blue, and gold, as were the constitution and rules. The club was tasked by the government with issuing competency certificates to drivers, and the first driver examiners were club members H. Skinner and C.O. Sherwood. 


During the second decade of operation, many members gave up their cars to the military. The Club worked with the Superintendent of Traffic on critical issues such as the need for brakes, sharing the road with horses and bush bikes, speed limits, railway crossings, and the dangers of slow moving vehicles on the “wrong” side of the road.

The club was granted “royal” status by the King in 1919, and it is now known as the Royal Automobile Club of Australia. The links to Newcastle and the Spit Bridge in Mosman, Sydney, were high on the club’s agenda.


The new club was designed by architects H.E. Ross and H. Ruskin Rowe, and construction began in 1926. Previously, Ross and Rowe designed the Commonwealth Bank in Martin Place. Lord Stonehaven, the Governor General, laid the foundation stone. Today, the club enjoys the distinct atmosphere of a heritage-listed building. Despite the Depression, club members remained active in motor sports during this decade. In her capacity as the RAC’s worldwide test driver for the Invicta, Miss Violette Cordery, an English woman, paid a visit to the Club.


The Club was outspoken in its opposition to gasoline taxes and in favor of fair bridge and road tolls. The Club became a member of the Road Safety Council and conducted a series of “Safety First” lectures in schools. In 1938, the Club suggested painting the first lane lines on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The club also suggested building a highway to connect the quickly growing Mascot airport to the city. While the club was active in motor sports, these activities were put on hold during World War ll. The Red Cross’s vehicles were called into action, and 136 of them were made available to move injured people from ships to hospitals. The Club distributed gasoline rations and became involved in lectures for those who powered their cars with “producers’ gas” (burning charcoal).


The Club remained active in the “Road Case” to support uniform traffic laws throughout Australia. The NRMA took over the club’s road service and insurance for members in 1945. The end of the war signaled a return to motor sport in NSW, with the club taking control on behalf of the Australian Automobile Association. Links were made with the MG Car Club, the Australian Sporting Car Club, the Vintage Club, and many other groups.

Our Vision

To maintain our reputation, specialisation, and recognition as Sydney’s leading members club. Our vision has not wavered since our inception, and we continue to be recognized as an industry leader. We strive to stay current and meet the ever-changing needs of our members and the community. Our service delivery guarantees that each member or guest will be treated with a positive attitude at all times. This includes the management, the waiter, the receptionist, and the valet – everyone is important in providing a memorable experience.

Statement of Purpose

Our mission is to provide quality hospitality to our members and guests by paying attention to detail, integrity, pride, and passion in everything we do. This enables us to cultivate a special relationship with our members and guests, carving out our market niche. 

Benefits of Membership

Membership is open to both ladies and gentlemen. Joining our historic club, which has been in operation since 1903, provides you with numerous benefits.

  • Corporate Membership is available.
  • Members receive exceptional rates on any of our seven conference, meeting, or functions rooms.
  • Accommodation includes 29 well-appointed rooms with Wi-Fi and Foxtel.
  • Secure valet parking is available.
  • The Harbour Dining Room offers breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour.
  • Members’ bar and lounge
  • Free access to our Business Center, which includes Wi-Fi, printing, and faxing services.
  • Members can also participate in member special interest groups, attend events, and participate in a variety of activities.

RACA Foundation

The RACA Foundation was established to ensure that the Clubhouse at 89 Macquarie Street in Sydney retains its heritage and is maintained to the standards expected not only by the membership but also by the community at large. The structure is described as follows in the Australian Heritage Database: “a significant and rare example of a gentlemen’s club from the early twentieth century (although ladies have also been welcome as members since the 1930s).  The RACA Foundation was created to allow our members to contribute to a fund that will initially be used to maintain our historically significant building. Although the core structure is sound, there are a number of areas that require refreshment or upgrading, including the Albert Street facade, the roof area, and a number of items that require attention internally. The Foundation will ensure that these tasks are completed without the use of operational funds, which can then be directed toward member activities and events.

Dress Code

Members are reminded of their responsibility to ensure that they dress in accordance with the Club’s standards, especially in the Harbour Dining Room and Members Bar. Shorts, T-shirts, and flip flops are not permitted at any time. Informal headwear is not permitted unless it is part of the national costume or is worn for medical or religious reasons. Joggers and sportswear are only permitted in the gym or when entering or exiting through the garage.  Jeans are permitted as long as they are clean and not stained or torn. Gentlemen must wear a collared dress shirt, long trousers, and covered footwear at all times. Ladies are expected to dress appropriately for the occasion and within the spirit of these rules, such as slacks with appropriate tops, conservative dresses, and so on. Please keep in mind that any national dress or military uniform is permitted at all times.

Membership Card

Members are reminded that in order to gain access to the club and gym, they must swipe their membership card. On request, cards should be presented to staff in the Harbour Dining Room and Members Bar. It is also a legal requirement for members to sign in their guests and keep them in their company until they leave. Please see Reception if you have misplaced or forgotten your card.


One of the best places to make friends is at an automobile club. It makes it possible for members from all walks of life to get together and talk about their shared interests with other fervent enthusiasts. If you are moving to a new city, joining a car club is a fantastic way to make new friends. Locate the nearest automobile club to you and become a member today! 


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