The Mark IV tank had been developed in Britain to break the trench war stalemate on the Western Front. Tanks were regarded as a revolutionary weapon and this example (serial number 4643) attracted a great deal of interest when it toured Australia as a fund-raising tool.
The tank had been shipped directly to Australia from the Coventry workshops in Glasgow, Scotland, arriving in June 1918. From September it travelled around the country, thrilling audiences with demonstrations of its ability to climb steep mounds, navigate out of deep holes, and crash through thick brick walls, fences, and purpose-built structures. In Adelaide, it was christened “Grit” by Lady Galway, the wife of the Governor of South Australia, after a naming competition held at Unley Oval on 14 September.
With armament consisting entirely of machine-guns, this version of the tank was referred to as a ‘female”. The “male’ counterpart carried a heavier armament of cannons and machine-guns.