Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

picture by: Alan Steel

The Dingo Scout Car was a light armoured car built in Australia during Second World War. They were produced by the Ford motor company during 1942. (read more here)

Have any of you seen one of these vehicles up close?

  1. Ngai C O says:

    Hi felicia,

    The picture looks like the the Daimler Dingo, which is different in appearance to the link.

    Below is another link to confirm it.

    More commonly seen during the emergency (1948 to 1960 ) were the ferret scout cars. They were the successor to the dingo.

    I believe one dingo is on display at the Sungai Siput Estate museum.


  2. sk says:

    Ferret Scout car yes, but not Dingo Scout car.
    During the Emergency, the railway was also equipped with an armored vehicle .
    I suppose to clear the tracks before the goods or passenger train move.

    • vincent says:

      The railway armoured cars were called Armoured Wickham Trolley and were run 5 minutes ahead of a passenger train to ensure that the tracks were intact. These were bought from the UK.

  3. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia

    The Dingo Scout Car was a light armoured car built in Australia during Second World War. They were produced by the Ford motor company during 1942.

    The Dingo you’re speaking of was an Australian armoured vehicle made by Ford, yes — but I think you’ll find that the vehicle shown in the photograph is something a bit different: it’s a Daimler Dingo, designed for the British Army by BSA. (Aside: British Daimler was not a German company. It was a BSA subsidiary that had licensed the use of Gottlieb Daimler’s name. That license now belongs to Indian conglomerate Tata; old Jamsetji would be pleased and proud, if only he knew.)

    sk adds:

    Ferret Scout car yes, but not Dingo Scout car.

    Yes, the Ferret was also made by Daimler; it was the successor to the Dingo.

  4. felicia says:

    Hi guys. Well, it could be a Daimler. However, the donor of this photograph calls it a Dingo Scout.
    If he’s reading this blog, perhaps he could shed more light on this…

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi felicia,

      The picture is a Dingo Scout car, as described by the contributer. No doubt about it. It was built in England by Daimler. Hence sometimes called Daimler Dingo.

      The Australian version built by Ford Australia, which had a different appearance, was also called a Dingo.

      This Daimler Dingo successor was the Ferret Scout car, which people growing up in the 50s in Ipoh would be more familiar with as it went about patrolling the streets or on escort/surveillance duties.

      It was based at the Ashby Road Army Camp.

      This aside, I recently watched a documentary about the fall of Malaya/Singapore in the 2nd world war, in which the events were revisited.

      Only about 1,000 Australian soldiers were evacuated from the island. The rest of about 15,000 were left to fend for themselves. There were accusations of desertion. The Australian commander, General Bennet, and some of his cronies spirited themselves away back to Australia without the knowledge of the rest of his soldiers in the confusion.

  5. NCK says:

    Dingoes are Australian wild dogs. If I’m not mistaken, I read it somewhere that the canines trace their ancestry from the domesticated dogs brought to the continent by the aborigines, and, surprisingly, the name dingo came from Cantonese ‘crazy (din) dog (gao)’.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      That would be a surprise, indeed, if it were true! (The word is aboriginal, not derived from Cantonese.)

    • NCK says:

      Well, I either read about it or, more likely, learnt of it from a documentary. I just found out that a Wikipedia article attributes the name to an aboriginal language. I don’t mean I’m correct, but Wikipedia is not always right. The dogs probably got the name after Chinese labourers began to work in Australian wilderness in the 19th century.

      • NCK says:

        The dogs could have been called many names, with dingo given by Chinese labourers and adopted by everyone. Of course this is only a possibility, but the name sounds too close to the Cantonese words.

      • Ipoh Remembered says:

        The dogs probably got the name after Chinese labourers began to work in Australian wilderness in the 19th century.

        Again, surprising if true — because, in his Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay, published in 1789, Watkin Tench speaks of the aboriginal use of the word to describe the animal.

      • NCK says:

        Well, what I said was obviously my guesswork and I made it clear it was so – if you know what ‘probably’ means. I thought I could trust you to make yet another claim, and you didn’t surprise me.

  6. NCK says:

    I visited an army camp with my class when I was in secondary school, and was pleasantly surprised by the warm hospitality provided by the host to some snotty adolescents of my classmates and me. I don’t remember which camp it was, probably the one at Tambun Road, nor the entire visit. However, we were treated to some battle drills performed by a group of about 20 soldiers, some refreshments, a free walk-around to marvel at the weapons on display which included a wheeled armoured fighting vehicle painted in dark blue that looked new, probably a ferret, and finally a session of group photographs with the soldiers to go down our memory lane. The sergeant encouraged us to join the army. Not that I know any of my classmates did.

  7. Ngai C O says:


    This is what I found in the Oxford Dictionary.

    Late 18th century: from Dharuk din-gu ‘domesticated dingo

    The aboriginal language Dharuk refers to the dingo as domesticated because they lived side by side together.

    There have only been 3 reports of the dingo attacking humans in the last 200 years compared to 14,000 a year in Australia from domesticated dogs.

  8. Mano says:

    NCK, you could be on to something here, mate. The most venomous snake in the world which is found in Australia is called the Inland Taipan which also ‘sounds too close to Cantonese words’. I have checked with some experts on snakes on the origin of it’s name but to no avail.

    • Ngai C O says:


      This is most likely an English loan word coined from the Aboriginal language, which I found from the Queensland Library.

      Taipan – from Wik Mungkan language of Western Cape York [also used in neighbouring languages on Cape York] – based on dhayban / thaypan

    • NCK says:

      Yes, Mano. Taipan sounds the same as Cantonese ‘big spots (or stripes)’. The possibility is there even though Australians assert otherwise.

      Ngai CO, an established idea is not necessarily true. Remember that Australia had a certain racial policy until the ’70s – whites were jealously guarding their loots for all they were worth. You might have read or heard about a book that says some ships from the fleet of Admiral Cheng-Ho (or Zheng He) sailed to Australia in the early 15th century and interacted with the aborigines without colonising them.

  9. Ngai C O says:

    Hi NCK,

    I have no doubt we have read lots of things, formed our own opinions or conclusions.

    I am also sure one can find many words that may sound Chinese but the origins may not be Chinese.

    Take a common Chinese surname Lee for example, which is actually a direct translation from Chinese. There are also thousands of white people with either Lee as surname or middle name.

    It would be quite impossible to justify that the origin is Chinese. After all Lee is just a direct translation of the sound.

    In the same vein, most of the Aboriginal words have been translated into English based on the sounds of their language.

    As for Cheng Ho’s influence, your guess is as good as mine.

  10. Mano says:

    Thank you for clarifying that, Ngai Co.
    Well, NCK, I suppose it’s simply a matter of coincidence that the words, Dingo and Taipan, sound Cantonese. Come to think of though, ‘tai’ may mean big or perhaps all powerful but ‘pan’ does not fit in. Also, the dingo as wild as they may be are far from being ‘din’ , crazy or aggressive. Instead, they are known for their cunning and hunt in well organised packs. In fact, there a few around in the outskirts of my neighbourhood. If you saw one, it would look so docile that you’d want to go and pet or feed it. But when you get close enough to do just that you’d find yourself surrounded!

    • NCK says:

      Well, Mano, I don’t know about the snake and will not talk about it, but when I was a kid, I often heard people loosely use the term ‘crazy dog’ (din gao) in Cantonese on any stray or feral dog.

  11. C K Leong says:

    It is best not to assume or fall into its trap. Certainly these words like “Dingo” and “Taipan” sounded Cantonese. Do we have any fact about the early Chinese sailors influencing the natives in Australia in terms of adopting Cantonese for their flora and fauna? We should be aware that there have been too many Cantonese jokes like “America” and “Coconut”.
    So assumption may make a type of animal out of us.

    • NCK says:

      I know what you mean. I hope you can see it not as assumption, but intuition (or doubt). Intuition is what makes us different from machines, and logics distinguish us from animals. Humans are a combination of intuition and logics.

      This may be new to you, but having doubts about something doesn’t mean you have to be dead set about your own idea and close your mind to any other ideas. A person apt to rote learning will direct all their attention to absorbing what they are taught. Another person with critical thinking will keep a part of their mind free for doubts and thoughts while they learn.

    • NCK says:

      Rote learners always refer to facts, not knowing that the facts they are so reliant on are only what they lap up from spoon-feeding. You wouldn’t expect to hear any original thoughts from them.

  12. Ipoh Remembered says:


    I suppose it’s simply a matter of coincidence that the words, Dingo and Taipan, sound Cantonese. Come to think of though, ‘tai’ may mean big or perhaps all powerful but ‘pan’ does not fit in. Also, the dingo as wild as they may be are far from being ‘din’ , crazy or aggressive.


    Ngai C O adds:

    Taipan – from Wik Mungkan language of Western Cape York [also used in neighbouring languages on Cape York] – based on dhayban / thaypan

    Yes, and the borrowing of that word into English was initiated in the 1930s by one man, ethnographer, zoologist, and taipan-venom-collector Donald Fergusson Thomson.

    Incidentally, Thomson was not only a staunch supporter of the rights of the aboriginal people but was later decorated for his military service — none of which he performed in a Dingo, however (nor in a Ferret, for that matter).


    Meanwhile, addressing me, NCK says:

    I thought I could trust you to make yet another claim, and you didn’t surprise me.

    What claim is it that’s bothering you now? Are you referring to my assertion that Watkin Tench documented in the 18th century an aboriginal usage that you were saying “probably” arose “in the 19th century”? You could easily confirm the veracity of this assertion, yet you haven’t surprised anyone by doing so!

    NCK further suggests:

    It seems that someone should write to Oxford Dictionary editors to correct their mistake, because he/she claims to have read a book published in 1789 that [would have proved] the use of the word since before 19th century.

    What “mistake” is it that you think the editors of the OED have made? (Don’t feel obliged to respond. At this point it’s just idle curiosity on my part.)

    • NCK says:

      Oh, no. I’d hoped I didn’t have remind you of your problem of making claims after claims without justification. As the saying goes, talk is cheap.

  13. Ngai C O says:


    More about the Dingo scout car.

    If you google below, you will find more information of its use in Malaya.

    Malaysia 1948-1962 The Daimler Fighting Vehicles Project – Part Bk …

  14. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Thanks, Ngai C O, the photographs are great. The commentary is less great but, then again, one doesn’t expect much in these instances.

    I did come to a dead stop, however, when I saw on p. 22 an innocent caption about a defoliant. The lads pictured in the tanker-truck, if they asked, were likely told the chemical was harmless to human and (other) animal life. After all, the same tanker was probably also used regularly to transport their drinking water. In fact, however, the defoliant contained Agent Orange, laced with dioxin, formulated and made by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), an aptly named company if ever there was one.

    Which brings me (again) to Oliver Lyttelton. I wrote previously that a company he chaired won a contract for the expansion of the Perak River Hydro plant in Malim Nawar. I mentioned that Lyttelton, friend of Winston Churchill, had two stints running the company and in between served as Colonial Secretary in His Majesty’s government. Well, one of the things he did as Colonial Secretary in His Majesty’s government was to approve the use of Agent Orange (and dioxin) in Malaya. Had he done this during a war, it might have been, according to the Geneva Protocol, a war crime — hence we were given the “Emergency,” which, we are still asked to pretend, was obviously nothing at all like a war.

    The caption on p. 22 of your document says the defoliant was used to denude the sides of roadways so as to prevent ambushes. In fact, that approach was tried briefly in 1952 and found to be ineffective and expensive. At one third the cost, the Army soon went back to hacking away the greenery by hand. Meanwhile, from 1953 on, Agent Orange and dioxin were used mostly to destroy crops and to render the land unusable. This was a consideration that had already been enunciated in London immediately after WWII (Chiefs of Staff Committee, TWC (45)(40), November 1945) when the government contemplated the uses of certain chemicals “for purposes of internal security within the Empire … for the destruction of food supplies of [dissidents] in order to control an area.” When the Americans were given Agent Orange and did the same thing with it in Vietnam a decade later, the government in Hanoi commissioned studies to document the effects. In British Malaya, no such studies were done, naturally, in part because the chemical was well understood and its effects were already known (to those in charge).

    Anyway, having approved the use of ICI’s chemical-warfare agents in Malaya in 1952, Oliver Lyttelton quit his post at the Colonial Office in 1954 to return to private industry. Two weeks into 1955 he was invited to join the Board of ICI — an invitation he graciously accepted, remaining in that position until 1969. (He died in 1972.)

  15. C K Leong says:

    Good article- Ipoh Remembered
    Dioxin and its various products (Agent Orange, 2-4-5 T) are one of the most noxious chemicals used in vegetation control used extensively in the Viet Nam War by the Americans. These chemicals have a long half life and many food scientists have warned about their potential contamination in agricultural products harvested from Viet Nam years down the track. The drastic effects of these products on human life are seen in the Ho Chi Min War Museum. So for some Government Official to say that Dioxin is safe, is ludicrous. In all fairness, even the managers are unaware of the dangers and exposed themselves too in innocence. So what can we learn about this? Don’t believe everything you hear from USDA, FDA, Monsanto, ICI and their associates. A lot of it is from self interest!

  16. Ngai C O says:

    Hi CK and Ipoh Remembered,

    Thanks for the extensive information on Dioxin, which led me to delve further into it as regards to where it sits in the poisonous table of chemicals and its potential implications. If people google the paste below, this is what WHO says.

    WHO | Dioxins and their effects on human health

    For those in the electrical industry, transformer oil used to contain PCB, another Dioxin material.

    Of course, this may lead our memory to another hazardous chemical, DDT, which was at one time hailed as a godsend when it was extensively sprayed along streams, on ponds and in homes.

    Last but not least is cresote, which was used to soak timber rafters to prevent rot and termite infestation.

  17. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear C K Leong

    You asked:

    Do we have any fact about the early Chinese sailors influencing the natives in Australia in terms of adopting Cantonese for their flora and fauna?

    Answer: No. The idea is … counter-factual. It was a hoax.

    And a prior question: Is there any evidence that early Chinese sailors ever made it to Australia in the first place? No.

    The perpetrator of this hoax — or, if you prefer, the main proponent of the idea, Gavin Menzies, who is not a historian — visited Nanjing, where Zheng He’s armada was built and launched, to confer with Chinese scholars who, with their ancestors, had spent centuries studying the admiral. You might think these scholars would have welcomed new tales of Zheng He’s prowess. But they listened to the foreigner politely, and then what did they tell him?

    There are too many theories about Zheng He, but there are no relics, no boats, or anything concrete. So the theories are not convincing.

    Imagine what it must have taken to provoke Chinese historians into being as blunt as that in the presence of their guest!

    Another gentleman at the conference, a naval oceanographer, summarized thus: “[Our guest] has a lot of misunderstandings about Chinese history.” The oceanographer’s wife, a historian, was even less impressed.

    One Western historian quoted incorrectly by Menzies has described the hoax thus:

    The reasoning … is inexorably circular, its evidence spurious, its research derisory, its borrowings unacknowledged, its citations slipshod, and its assertions preposterous.

    None of that stopped the intrepid Menzies, who came up with a sequel just as ludicrous as his original.

    Asked about the totality of what Menzies had written, a Beijing historian said that to call it a set of assumptions would be “a high evaluation. … It’s not history.”

    I’ll leave it there.

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