A RARE 1948 Daimler landaulette, used by the Queen during her 1954 royal tour of Australia, has been the focus of one of the most complex conservation projects undertaken by National Museum conservators.
The conservation involved assessing more than 30,000 components, carefully deconstructing much of the car and then rebuilding it piece by piece.
The Daimler will join 11 other vehicles from the museum’s collection at Wakefield Park in Goulburn on Saturday (August 17) in a rare opportunity for the public to see the vehicles in action.
The Daimler will do a regal lap of the track and be on show throughout the day.
The Queen’s 58-day tour covered seven states and territories and an estimated 75 per cent of the population witnessed the royal progress at least once.
National Museum director Dr Mathew Trinca said the Daimler 36HP Hooper Bodied landaulette was used extensively by the Queen during the royal tour and became synonymous with this significant event in Australian history.
“The 1954 Royal Tour is important to the history of Australia as it was the first time a reigning monarch had visited this country. The museum is proud to have in our collection one of only two surviving Daimlers that transported the Queen through capital cities and rural towns around the country,” he said.
The car is almost six metres long and weighs four tonnes. It is 1.8 metres high and powered by an eight-cylinder engine. Its internal fit-out included electric sunroof and windows, an intercom, airbag lumbar supports and a radio housed beneath a walnut dashboard. All have been restored.
Senior large technology conservator Nathan Pharaoh said: “The conservation project involved combining a range of innovative techniques, matching traditional trade skills with modern technologies and materials.
“Some of the more challenging components were recreated using techniques such as 3D printing of parts and reverse-engineering the vehicle’s intercom system.”
The Daimler is one of six originally commissioned by Prime Minister Ben Chifley for a tour of Australia by King George VI in 1949, which was cancelled due to the King’s ill health. Two were sold on to the Maharajah of Mysore in India and the remaining four became part of the government’s car pool. They were refurbished for the Queen’s 1954 visit.
Following the tour, the Daimler was sold to the governor of SA. It was then owned by several private collectors before being purchased by the museum in 2009.
The Daimler is on display at the National Museum, August 20-September 5.