Special licence plates

Horse Drawn Vehicle number plate

The Wikipedia article on Australian licence plates highlights some special prefixes, but here’s a list I’ve tried to come up with that includes others they don’t show, from personal observations and gleaning information from the VicRoads web site.

Bus number plateSome of them are clearly abbreviations for what they are… some not so much.

AO (suffix) – accredited bus

CC – Consular Corps

E56 – trailers

HDV – horse-drawn vehicle

Mxx – state vehicles, such as (marked) police cars

M – metropolitan Melbourne taxi

U – Geelong, Ballarat or Bendigo urban taxi

PS (suffix) – peak period taxi

ST – substitute taxi (replacement for regular taxi which is out of service for repairs)

C – country/regional taxis

TOW (prefix ) / TT (suffix) – tow truck

VHA/VHB/VHC – hire cars (eg chauffeured)

S000 to S999 – hire motorcycles

I particularly like HDV.

Are there others?

The Rooster Tree

Those who regularly head up the Hume Freeway from Melbourne would know about this, but others may not: it’s the Rooster Tree.

The Rooster Tree

You’ll find it somewhere past Wandong and the exit for Clonbinane (which is one of those places I’ve never heard of apart from on the freeway exit signs), and it’s really only properly visible when heading northbound.

As you get closer, you’ll see it’s not really one tree, but a clump of trees.

One wonders if the owners of it know of its significance… my guess is yes, since it never seems to grow enough to look like anything other than a rooster.

Enough people know about the Rooster Tree that it’s got a fan page on Facebook — and in the aftermath of the horrific death and destruction of Black Saturday in 2009, many wondered if it had survived.

One more thing: local musician Mal Webb has written a very amusing song about the Rooster Tree:

(thanks to M for snapping the pic above as we drove up the other day)

Car trouble – just when I needed it (of course)

Last night’s skyline from the country:

Country night skyline

It’s not often I have to be urgently somewhere in the car, but it was the case yesterday. “Don’t be late!” I’d been (lightheartedly) told.

It’s not a trip that is completely impossible by public transport, but with only three trains a day, and the first of the morning getting me there 45 minutes late, that wasn’t an option. It had to be a trip made by road.

I’d started the car briefly on Thursday to check I had enough fuel to make the trip. That may have been my undoing.

When I got in the car on Friday morning to head north, it wouldn’t start. It grumbled and spluttered. I sat back for a moment, swore under my breath, then tried again. No go.

I contemplated possible plan Bs, and how it was possible this could happen after (as I recall it) zero engine-related troubles with the Astra since I got it in 2008 (and no hint of forthcoming issues at the last service).

The third time, it finally came good, but with a deep rumble somewhere in the engine. I thought I might as well go for it, and eased it out of the driveway. As we moved down the street the rumble stopped, and it was fine.

I didn’t dare stop along the way. Two and a bit hours I’d made it, and gratefully pulled into a parking spot.

Since then it’s got me home again too, even with a brief stop along the way.

So, those of you who know more about cars than I do (which is most of you, I suspect): is it the battery? Is it on the way out? Time for a replacement?

And if so, any particularly recommended vendors for someone like me who probably doesn’t have the time or energy to do it himself?

Pics from the road

This guy must be a Top Gear fan… notably a few minutes later he was seen careering across two lanes, at about 20 kmh over the speed limit.

Do drivers of the BMW 320d realise that it says “pose” upside-down? (Well okay, POZE.)
BMW 320d - "Pose" upsidedown

It just staggers me that people still do stupid stuff like queue over level crossings. Pure idiocy.
Cars queuing across level crossing

Idiot of the day

About an hour ago at Highett station: the train to Frankston had just left, and a city-bound train was approaching.

This idiot cyclist rode across in front of the city-bound train. The train driver tooted his horn loud and long. The cyclist entered the station, and appeared to want to catch the train — I’d be surprised if the driver didn’t verbally berate the cyclist over the PA.

Cyclist risks death riding out in front of train (1/2)

Cyclist risks death riding out in front of train (2/2)

Evidently car sharing is getting more popular

…judging from these four lined up next to Flagstaff Gardens.

Share cars in William Street

From the front:

Unfortunately while they might be plentiful in the CBD and inner-suburbs, it might be a while until they reach spots further out.

I suspect that there’s not that many people in Bentleigh who would get rid of their own car and join up. I’d certainly be tempted.

Lock up your motors

Unlucky pictogram manMy neighbour Bob had his car broken into this morning. He said he heard noises outside and went out to find a bloke smashing up the steering wheel and console, apparently trying to hotwire it.

When the bloke realised Bob was out there he shouted “I’m coming out mate, I’m coming out!” He did so, pushed past Bob and ran down the street. Sounds like the bloke wanted to avoid a physical confrontation.

Bob says he inadvertently left his car unlocked overnight, and suspects the bloke was just an opportunist. He also thinks he may have been affected in some way by drugs, alcohol, or something else.

I’d have to assume a pro could have hotwired a car in seconds, and not made enough noise to rouse people. Bob’s got an older Commodore — perhaps it doesn’t have an immobiliser, though it’s unclear if the bloke would have known that.

The police CSI team came and took fingerprints, but one would guess they won’t have much luck finding anybody… more likely they might pin that on him if they find him for something else.

I thought nobody would try and break into a car in a driveway, because the assumption would be that somebody’s home. The Lady Cop said you can never assume your car in your driveway is safe. Some people will notice an unlocked car and grab gold coins from the coin tray — you wouldn’t even know anything had happened.

Bob’s okay… he was just a little shaken. But his car will need some repairs.

It reminds me that although Bentleigh is a pretty safe, low-crime suburb, it’s good to take care. I sometimes leave my car open, windows down, doors unlocked if it’s a hot day and I’m expecting to go driving somewhere. The lesson I’ll take from this is to at least ensure the doors are deadlocked (which should also activate the immobiliser, hopefully preventing hotwiring) whenever the car is unattended.