ACDS History

The Australian Carriage Driving Society started as a club (Australian Driving Society) in New South Wales in 1971. In 1981 there was a shift to creating a National Body to represent the sport of Carriage Driving in Australia. Clubs were asked if they wanted to affiliate with a governing body. The Australian Driving Society as a governing body asked clubs to affiliate by paying an annual fee of $20.00. In November 1981 to June 1982 the Council and Representatives were:

At the first AGM held in November 1981 a new ACDS Constitution was voted in and the ACDS moved from being one club to a National Body of clubs. Committees from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland were formed and the delegates to the ACDS Council were; NSW Mrs Sue Ryan, Mr Peter McIntyre. Vic Mr Michael Thill, Mr Noel Morris. Qld Mr Neville Lindley, Mr Sel Hewitt. The first levy to members was introduced in 1982-1983 at $2.00 for individual members and $4.00 for family membership.

Our Patron is HRH Prince Philip who was a special guest at the Bi Centennial Carriage Driving Championships in Canberra in 1988.

ACDS Vic Branch

The Australian Carriage Driving Society Victorian Branch developed from this point on.


Spread over 70 clubs nationally membership numbers 1,500 individuals with the majority of members based in New South Wales and Victoria. Clubs vary greatly in size and interests with some primarily Pleasure clubs, (non competitive), others with more Show or Competition bias. It is said that the majority of members are "pleasure drivers" however competitive drivers maintain that they compete for "pleasure". Members show successfully at Royal Show level and also support the many Agricultural Shows.


Members range in age from babes in arms to 90+ years.

(CDE's are Combined Driving Events)

The sport is suitable for all ages - those too young to drive often become passengers on Pleasure drives, Private drives or in the show ring. Grooms in CDE's must be 10 years of age. To drive in CDE's a driver must have attained their 12th birthday. It is a great family sport, often with several generations involved on one vehicle.


Competition can range from one small pony, jogger (pneumatic tyred), and float for one person, right through to the four-in-hand with four or five horses, two vehicles, a semi trailer and an army of helpers.

Activities include Pleasure Driving, Private or Park Driving, Showing and Competition Carriage Driving, with variations of each in between. Members participate in parades, promotions etc. and some clubs support historical villages eg. "Pioneer Settlement", Swan Hill and "Old Gippstown" in Gippsland, Vic.

Different types of harness may be used including leather, a synthetic webbing harness or a mixture of both. Many drivers make or repair their own harness. Many driver use more than one set of harness eg. synthetic harness for training and marathons and good leather harness for "best" ie. Showing or Presentation & Dressage.


Once you become a member of an ACDS affiliated club you may participate in the activities of any other affiliated club. The ACDS has lists of accredited Show, Dressage and Presentation Judges and can supply names of driving teachers and horse breakers (harness). Schools are held by Federal Council, State Branches and Clubs and may cover any aspect of driving from beginners through to advanced multiples and dressage.

There are several commercial vehicle makers, and harness can be bought ready made or custom made for your horse. ACDS members receive a quarterly NEWS JOURNAL with classified advertisements where gear, equipment and horses are listed for sale.