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The evolution of the Aussie servo

05 November 2020

In 1914, the Herald newspaper reported that an exciting new invention was coming to Victoria. The bowser petrol pump system would let motorists fill their tanks in a few short minutes, bypassing the inconvenience of buying petrol in four gallon tins from the local hardware store.

By the 1930s, the Aussie servo had taken off. Each had its own distinctive appearance and character, and was a one-stop shop where a friendly attendant would not only fill your car with petrol, but could also pump your tyres, wash your windscreen, have a yarn and book you in for a grease and oil. 

We're taking a trip down memory lane and visiting some of Victoria’s earliest and most charismatic servos – before an increasingly monopolised market turned them into generic megastores.

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From the Vault is a video series that delves into the surprising, poignant and sometimes funny stories behind the unique archival images held in the State Library Victoria collection.

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