Beleura holds a small but important collection of the automobiles owned by John Tallis. These vehicles are on display along with motoring memorabilia, photographs and artifacts belonging to the Tallis family.
Sir George Tallis was a motoring enthusiast and owned many exotic automobiles. In 1905 Sir George gleefully remarked that motoring was his only pastime and it freed him from worrying about tired-out horses.
John Tallis was less enthusiastic about motoring than his father, but followed his brothers in appreciating fine motor cars, even if he often preferred to be chauffeur driven. His cars included a very elegant post-War Jaguar saloon, a technically sophisticated Rover and a basic Fiat run-about. A study in contrasts, the Jaguar, Rover and Fiat are all at Beleura, faultlessly restored by a team assembled by Ian Mullins and overseen by G.W. Kirk.
1948 Mark IV Jaguar
Sir George Tallis was an early motoring enthusiast and a founding member of the RACV. He owned many exotic cars from makers such as De Dion-Bouton, Vinot-Deguingand, Marmon, Rolls Royce, Bentley and MG. Sir George enjoyed long distance driving and it was on one of these trips in Britain that his son John Tallis learnt to drive.
John Tallis bought his first car after his father died in 1948 and he chose a new Mark IV Jaguar. The Jaguar was sophisticated, stylish but not too extravagant. It was fitted with a two and a half-litre, six-cylinder engine and was driven through a four speed manual gearbox.
Tallis sold the Jaguar in 1967. It was passed through several owners before being located on a farm in NSW, intact but in poor condition. It was purchased in 2011 by the Tallis Foundation and has been fully restored for display at Beleura.
In 1967 John Tallis decided to replace the Jaguar and bought a new Rover 2000SC P6 Series, a vehicle which introduced a number of radical technical developments to mass market cars. The P6 series was a completely new car for Rover, initially fitted with a two-litre, four-cylinder engine. Unusually for the 1960s it was built with a strong emphasis on safety, including progressively crumpling body panels in the event of an accident. Commentators wrote that it had excellent steering, braking and road-holding and unlike previous Rovers, it was designed to appeal to driving enthusiasts. Tallis was not a confident driver and mostly used the Rover for short local trips. It remained his principal car for the rest of his life, notching up a mere 30,000 km by 1996.
1951 Fiat Topolino
John Tallis needed a car for a planned trip to Italy in 1953 and ordered a new Fiat 500C Belvedere from Turin. This was the wagon version of a 1936 model, simple but rugged and powered by a 569cc four-cylinder engine. Designed for two people, it frequently carried more, plus luggage and even produce, proving very popular in post-war Italy. After the trip Tallis shipped the car back to Melbourne and used it as a local runabout. He sold it in 1976, to his immediate regret.
Just two months before he died in 1996, Tallis saw an advertisement for a 1951 Fiat 500C Topolino and on a whim purchased it. The Topolino, (“little mouse”), resembled the Fiat he drove in Italy but was a sedan instead. He never drove the car but was no doubt reminded of his earlier trip to Italy. It is fully restored and on display at Beleura.