Hughes is Australia’s original chauffeur service, with a rich history stretching back to the start of the 20th century. As one of the country’s oldest companies, our history is intertwined with the history of Australia itself—a parallel blossoming of country and company, using technological innovation to ensure quality, trust, and success.
Here is our story from the very beginning to the present day.
To fulfil his lifelong passion of creating a “horseless carriage,” German engine designer Karl Benz builds the first practical automobile—the Benz Patent Motorwagen—powered by a gasoline engine.
Benz’s 6hp engine was used by Australian Harley Tarrant in his first automobile, completed in 1901 in a small Melbourne workshop.
A few years after the unification of Australia into a commonwealth, Hughes Limousines is created to provide luxury chauffeured transportation for the most discerning of Australians —the first Australian company to do so.
The company started operating in Melbourne, and now has offices in every major Australian city and region.
South Australia passed the Motor Traffic Regulation Act in 1904, and in 1906, issues its first license to Dr William Arthur Hargreaves in Adelaide. Hargreaves has a keen interest in vehicles and fuel sources, and would eventually power his own vehicle using a mixture of molasses and petrol.
As more states introduced mandatory licenses, all Hughes chauffeurs took their tests and obtained their licenses.
Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh form the world’s third airline—Qantas—and provide air routes throughout Queensland. Their first plane is the Avro 504K, a small biplane with a 100hp engine.
As Qantas open new routes to the Northern Territory, Singapore, and Sydney, air travellers need a way to get to and from airports, which Hughes is happy to provide.
Holden was founded back in 1856, and for the first 92 years of its operation, produced saddles and vehicle body shells. It wasn’t until 1948 that it created its first full vehicle—The Holden 48-215. The 48-215 was marketed as the “Holden” but was unofficially known as the FX. Other names that were considered were “Austral”, “Melba”, “Boomerang”, “Emu” and “Canbra.”
The Holden was a commercial success and had a waiting list of over a year. The car was promptly added to the Hughes fleet.
With air-conditioning technology becoming more efficient and affordable, it isn’t long before it is installed into cars. The first car to offer factory-installed air conditioning is the Packard 180, and by 1969, more than half of all new cars are equipped with A/C.
In 1958, the three-point seat belt is invented by Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin, and remains the seat belt of choice today.
With air conditioning and self-belts becoming the norm, Hughes is able to offer a more comfortable and safer environment for its customers.
Transportation company Equity Transport Group purchases Hughes Limousines to broaden its reach, allowing it to offer a range of transport options for Australians.
Car Australia is founded with a view to offer reliable and affordable transportation across Australia, built on the foundation of cutting-edge technology, talented operational staff, and exceptional drivers.
Car Australia is Equity Transport Group’s affordable alternative to Hughes Limousines, and cements the company’s position as Australia’s leading transportation provider.
With an eye on sustainability, Toyota develops the first world’s first popular hybrid electric vehicle—the Prius—kickstarting a hybrid industry that has seen over 17 million vehicles sold since its inception.
Hughes remains steadfast in its pursuit of balancing client comfort with environmental consciousness. Hughes has since implemented a number of environmentally-friendly practices, which can be viewed here.
Hughes starts developing its TransElite operating system—a central place to manage its bookings, dispatches, reports, and accounts. The system helped to integrate multiple parts of Hughes’s business into one system, drastically improving its efficiency and encouraging growth.
Hughes releases an online booking portal which allows its customers to book and manage transport, providing them with greater flexibility for vehicle bookings.
Hughes adds GPS tracking for every journey, giving customers greater control by letting them monitor and track their vehicles.
Hughes adds a global distribution system to its suite of technology, allowing data to be passed between travel agencies, airlines, and hotels, making booking management even easier for its customers and staff.
Equity Transport Group takes over Hughes’ Adelaide operation, consolidating the company further and helping to streamline country-wide operations.
Equity Transport Group utilises the Robotic Process Automation power of UiPath, handling the processing work of 600 bookings each day for Hughes. As we advance with our usage of Robotics, more than 2,000 bookings per day can be automatically entered into our system, allowing our team to help customers with more detailed requests.