Number plates have been issued in Victoria since 1910. Like other Australian plates, these are usually particular to a vehicle, changing hands with it, and are generally permanent (yearly registration is however required, with stickers displayed in the lower passenger-side of the windscreen).
Initial Victorian plates, issued from 1910 to 1939, were in numerals only, from 300-000 to 990-999. From 1930, "VIC" inserts were added vertically down the left-hand side of the plate.
In 1939 Victoria switched to a 2-letter, 3-number scheme (AA-000 to ZZ-999) of which also bear "VIC" down the left-hand side, this format used to be issued to motorcycles. In 1972 the 2-letter, 3 number scheme were re-introduced as optional, personalized plates. These had an embossed "VIC" above the plate's embossed characters in full length.
From 1953, owing to the Federal number plate system, Victorian plates switched to the 3-letter, 3-number standard: GAA-000 to HZZ-999, and JAA-000 to LZZ-999, coloured white lettering on a black background, and a "VIC" insert on the top of the plate. As previously mentioned, Victoria skipped the I-series and went straight from HZZ-999 to JAA-000, as a capital-I could be mistaken as a number 1. However, having reached the end of their Federal allotment of letters, Victoria commenced from LZZ-999 to IAA-000 (ensuring the capital-I had noticeable staves to tell them apart from the number 1) in 1974. This was only a temporary measure, naturally, as Victoria faced the same problem having proceeded through the I series three years later; it was decided to restart the plate issues at AAA-000 and redesign the plate for the first time in 27 years at the same time.
While the following list is far from complete, HHK was the first alpha series issued in 1961, KMD the first in 1970 and KUC in 1971. See: http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Registration/NumberPlates/StandardNumberPlates/Generalissuenumberplates.htm
In 1977, reflective green-on-white plates were introduced, beginning at AAA-000 and running to FZZ-999. These bore the insert Victoria - Garden state at the bottom of the plate. In the early nineties, it was discovered that the reflective properties of many number plates in the range from AAA to EZZ, and principally the C series, were defective and this had coincided with the rapid introduction of speed cameras in Victoria. Due to the number of plates which were unidentifiable in photographs, all defective plates were recalled and new plates issued free of charge. This caused the rapid consumption of the plate stocks especially in the late F series and some plates (those starting with FTA to FYZ) were produced in Queensland to meet demand. These plates are identifiable by their different embosseed dies and vertical diamond separator (as opposed to Victoria's horizontal diamond). An additional series RAA-000 until RBZ-999 was produced pending the start to the On The Move series. It is a popular myth that the defective paint was caused by prisoners manufacturing the plates urinating in the paint mixture. In 1984(?) for the 150th anniversary of European settlement in Victoria, plates bore the slogan Victoria - 150 Years across the bottom. In 1985 some of the Cxx series plates bore the slogan VIC - Nuclear Free State across the bottom.
In 1988 for the Australian Bicentennial, the plates bore the "VIC" insert horizontally down the left-hand side and also the slogan Australia - 1788 to 1988 across the bottom. In late 1994, in an initiative by the then-Premier, Jeff Kennett, reflective blue-on-white plates were introduced, beginning at NAA-000. The diamond-dot in the middle was changed to the state logo of a blue St Edward's Crown over an upside-down blue triangle with the Victorian Southern Cross in white inside. These plates bore the slogan Victoria - On the move across the bottom. The "on the move" notation was the source of many jokes in Queensland, being stated as "Victoria - on the move, to Queensland" - owing to the massive "seachange" internal migration that has occurred in the last 20–30 years, with many Victorians moving to Queensland for a life change. In late 1999 when the new Labor Party won government, they phased out the old state logo and motto to prepare for the introduction of a new one. Until these were finalised, plates (in the QDa-nnn series at the time) reverted to the old diamond-dot with simply Victoria across the bottom. In late 2000, the dot became the new logo simply of an enlarged blue triangle with the Victorian Southern Cross in it, the top lining up with the top of the plate, and bearing the slogan Victoria - The place to be across the bottom. As of 8 December 2010, The new Baillieu Government has announced it is dropping "The Place To Be" slogan from Victorian number plates.
In early 2013, Victoria will have exhausted all ABC-123 format plates with the current Victoria - The Place To Be slogan. Two main combinations are under consideration: A12-AAA or V123-ABC (like South Australia's "S" prefix) Vic - stay alert stay alive - its replacement slogan starts when the new combinations format begin and the blue on white reflective base will be retained.
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