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The first Canberra number plates?

longshanks 30 March 2011 32

Yesterday I noticed a car with the number plate YAA 110. Am I right in assuming that this particular number plate originally adorned the 110th car to be registered in the ACT after the Y standard was introduced?

And if so, when would this have been?

I should add that the car I saw yesterday was a fairly recent one – but was driven by an elderly gent, who has probably kept the plate since it was first used.

Any number plate experts out there?


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The first Canberra number plates?
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Antagonist 5:37 pm 15 Apr 11

The first Canberra plates were issued by the ‘Federal Capital Territory’ – as it was known prior to ‘Australian Capital Territory’. I will see if I can dig out the info on it. As I recall they were issued to a resident of Acton who was an aspiring politician. There was a bit of a story to it. The hiddencanberra.com.au website rings a bell here.

astrojax 3:36 pm 02 Apr 11

cavvygreen said :

We had the number plate 410. When we given the option of paying money to keep it or get YAA 410 for free, we took the free one. We were pretty broke, way back then.

My husband has always regretted handing it back in, as it had been handed down to him by his dad 🙁

Wonder who has it now !

my old man was, as a kid with his first car (an mg’b’ no less!) offered the nsw ‘3’ no. plate but, being a kid and not thinking nor quite having the readies, said no. he has kicked himself pretty well ever since – s’worth squillions now…

LSWCHP 11:21 pm 01 Apr 11

homeone said :

The ACT Police had P-76s. One of the claims to fame of the P-76 was that you could fit a 44 gallon drum in the boot. The cops were always mentioning they’d never needed to do so.

They hated then and always referred to them as P-38s – only half a car …

I will not hear a bad word said against the Leyland P-76, which, in my opinion, is the finest automobile ever made.

In 1985 I was a passenger in a P-76 when the driver turned right across oncoming traffic, which happened to be a 4WD with a bullbar doing about 80 km/h.

The 4WD severely impacted the passenger side of the P-76 (ie where I was sitting), resulting in me pissing blood all over the street, and then spending a couple of months in hospital, and about a year in gradual recovery. I had a fractured skull, brain damage, amnesia, broken ribs, a collapsed lung, bruising, abrasions, glass and metal fragments gradually erupting from my head, neck and shoulder over a period of about 6 months, and fairly major psychological trauma. I live with the aftermath of that impact every day.

So bless that strong P-76, and the folks who made her. If I’d been in a less sturdy vehicle, I’d be long dead, and I wouldn’t be her to kiss my fine young sons goodnight as I did a few minutes ago.

homeone 4:27 pm 01 Apr 11

The ACT Police had P-76s. One of the claims to fame of the P-76 was that you could fit a 44 gallon drum in the boot. The cops were always mentioning they’d never needed to do so.

They hated then and always referred to them as P-38s – only half a car …

Me no fry 3:58 pm 01 Apr 11

troll-sniffer said :

damien haas said :

I transferred ACT rego and numberplate LP-076 onto one of my P76’s for 30 dollars. Compared to ‘custom plate’ charges from other states, an absolute bargain. Its metal too, far more appealing than the horrible plastic ones they issue now.

One of the few instances where the combined worth of the radiator cap and number plate is greater than the car in between!

Hey! Don’t diss the P76.

troll-sniffer 2:58 pm 01 Apr 11

damien haas said :

I transferred ACT rego and numberplate LP-076 onto one of my P76’s for 30 dollars. Compared to ‘custom plate’ charges from other states, an absolute bargain. Its metal too, far more appealing than the horrible plastic ones they issue now.

One of the few instances where the combined worth of the radiator cap and number plate is greater than the car in between!

Lefty 2:40 pm 01 Apr 11

toadstool said :

I have an old ACT numeric number plate lying around at home, but it is white lettering on a dark blue background with the ACT top centre. I haven’t looked at it for a while, but I think it has the numbers divided by a diamond as mentioned by John Moulis. I’ll have to hunt it down. May be worth something?

Let us know what number it is…..thanks.

troll-sniffer 2:35 pm 01 Apr 11

AG Canberra said :

And why do we have plates that begin with “Y”….becuase the original design Canberra and our suburbs forms the shape of a “Y”. (

Gungahlin is the right arm, out to Charnwood is the left and down to Tuggers is the vertical bit.

Acksherly it was just the section of the available national spectrum that was reserved for the ACT. From Wikipedia:

New South Wales: AAA-000 to FZZ-999
Victoria: GAA-000 to MZZ-999 (Ixx-nnn series skipped initially, but used after the Lxx-nnn series)
Queensland: NAA-000 to QZZ-999 (Oxx-nnn series initially skipped by Queensland)
South Australia: RAA-000 to TZZ-999
Western Australia: UAA-000 to VZZ-999 (V was not used; issued X after U ran out)
Tasmania: WAA-000 to WZZ-999 (later 2 letters & 4 digits)
Northern Territory: XAA-000 to XZZ-999 (not taken up; stayed with 6 digits))
Australian Capital Territory: YAA-000 to YZZ-999 (ACT Government plates adopted numeral only plates in the late 1990s (200-000 to 299-999) with the words ACT GOVERNMENT embossed beneath numerals to replace the Z series government plates)
Commonwealth Govt: ZAA-000 to ZZZ-999 (with initial Z in red), issued Australia-wide.

damien haas 2:30 pm 01 Apr 11

I transferred ACT rego and numberplate LP-076 onto one of my P76’s for 30 dollars. Compared to ‘custom plate’ charges from other states, an absolute bargain. Its metal too, far more appealing than the horrible plastic ones they issue now.

toadstool 1:26 pm 01 Apr 11

I have an old ACT numeric number plate lying around at home, but it is white lettering on a dark blue background with the ACT top centre. I haven’t looked at it for a while, but I think it has the numbers divided by a diamond as mentioned by John Moulis. I’ll have to hunt it down. May be worth something?

Keijidosha 12:12 pm 01 Apr 11

AG Canberra said :

And why do we have plates that begin with “Y”….becuase the original design Canberra and our suburbs forms the shape of a “Y”. (

Gungahlin is the right arm, out to Charnwood is the left and down to Tuggers is the vertical bit.

April fools?

Lefty 11:34 am 01 Apr 11

The YAA prefix was reserved for number owner between 1 and 999 as they were going to recall all numerics. Some of the owners kicked up a big stink so they made it optional. e.g. 2 could be swapped for YAA-002. So offically first general issue prefix was YAB-000. As most of the numeric owners declined the offer to convert, these were issued as general issue some time later.

AG Canberra 11:00 am 31 Mar 11

And why do we have plates that begin with “Y”….becuase the original design Canberra and our suburbs forms the shape of a “Y”. (

Gungahlin is the right arm, out to Charnwood is the left and down to Tuggers is the vertical bit.

Very Busy 9:45 pm 30 Mar 11

Richard Bender said :

When YZZ999 was issued, the ACT initially did not move to the current series. The next set of plates was the YLa-nnn series

Not quite – after YZZ999 but before YLAnnn there were a series of plates with the third letter being a “Q” These were not issued in the original sequence. They went YAQnnn, YBQnnn, YCQnnn etc. up to YHQnnn. YIQnnn onwards were released earlier in their correct sequence.

Also before YLA, YKVnnn, YKWnnn, YKXnnn, YKYnnn and YKZnnn were issued.

keepitup 8:19 pm 30 Mar 11

cavvygreen said :

We had the number plate 410. When we given the option of paying money to keep it or get YAA 410 for free, we took the free one. We were pretty broke, way back then.

My husband has always regretted handing it back in, as it had been handed down to him by his dad 🙁

Wonder who has it now !

Cavvygreen must be an oldie like me . . she hit the nail on the head. I seem to think it was a little later than 1968 – perhaps 1970?

Very Busy 7:38 pm 30 Mar 11

John Moulis said :

The first plates issued in the ACT were numbered from 1 to 99,999.

Not quite – 99,936 to 99,999 were not originally issued. Therefore YAA-000 came immediately after 99,935. Numberplates from 99,936 to 99,999 were however, made available for purchase back in 1983 when personalised plates were made available. All unused (non current) numeric plates were made available again for purchase in 1983. Personalised and numeric plates then cost $50 and were only available in tin.

The first plastic plates were made available at the same time that custom plates were first made available. That was in 1992. Soon before 1992 the ACT Government sought expressions of interest for custom plates. The most popular ones that people wanted were then auctioned at the Albert Hall in 1992. The first custom plate to be auctioned which was lot 1 was “HOLDEN” After the auction custom plates were not available for purchase over the counter until 1994.

Richard Bender 7:26 pm 30 Mar 11

When YZZ999 was issued, the ACT initially did not move to the current series. The next set of plates was the YLa-nnn series that, for reasons somebody here may know, had never been issued the first time around. You’ll see plenty of mid-1990s Falcons and Commodores with these plates. Then they began reissuing from YAa-nnn if the plates were no longer in use. My brother’s 1997 Pulsar got YAQ followed by three digits, rather than the last character being a letter. So YAA 110 may have been kept in the family for years, but equally may have been issued more recently.

The first Y series were YAB-nnn, not YAA-nnn. As cavvygreen noted above, YAA was for transfers from the old numeric series.

georgesgenitals 6:47 pm 30 Mar 11

I believe they started with YAA, because that’s what people started screaming when they saw the skill level being applied by Canberra drivers.

eily 6:37 pm 30 Mar 11

You can transfer your old number plates to a new car. Don’t know about a second hand one though. My mum’s number (YAW—. Got late January of the year they came in. Sorry my memory doesn’t supply the year) has adorned three cars so far.
Although you do have to pay for the transfer; administrative fees at least. They put your old plates on your new car and the new set on your old car.
The set currently on her car are a second set; the originals faded and had to be re-pressed.
She also had the option of retaining her original number (her original had two digits followed by three digits, white on dark blue) but she would of had to pay to have them manufactured in the new blue on white reflective we have now.
Though some people did. The all-number plates you sometimes see are possibly original original numbers.

PeterK 6:23 pm 30 Mar 11

There are also plates getting around with just numeric digits (eg 127) as well as ones with more detailed numeric digits (eg 8-137). I have feeling that these may have been the first released before the YAAs started, but I could be wrong. I’m not sure what range the numerics went to before starting at Yaa, but it would be interesting to know if anyone has the information.

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