Australian motorcycles

The Australian motorcycle has an image problem. While there were a few genuine all-Australian-built bikes, most used imported motors in conventional frames assembled from imported lugs. Examples of survivors can be seen in the Australian bike photo gallery, as well as on the pages for my Blue Bird, Bullock, De Luxe, Lewis, Peerless and Victor Blackburne motorcycles. I've also put up pages for Pasco, Hercules, Invincible JAP and the spring-framed Whiting and Mostyn motorcycles.


Luckily, someone has gone to the trouble of writing a definitive book on Australian motorcycles. Robert Saward's "A-Z of Australian-made Motorcycles" (Turton and Armstrong, Sydney 1996, ISBN 0 908031 64 5) details some 396 brands of motorcycles offered for sale to the public, plus a good many more built for racing. An awesome achievement. Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print.

With such a comprehensive volume already written, the challenge is now on to find machines in the NAIS category (Not Appearing in Saward - with apologies to Mike Worthington-Williams NAIT Not Appearing in Tragatsch). Here are a few I have come across:

  • F.C. - 3 1/2 model registered in SA in 1920
  • Blake - 3 1/2 model registered in SA in 1920
  • NSW - 1 3/4 model registered in SA in 1920
  • Bologne Elk - Pretty weird! First appeared in a classified ad in 1921 as "Coloyn Elk", but changed the following week to Bologne Elk, you'd have to wonder whether is wasn't a British Lincoln Elk
  • FNR - 4 1/4 model registered in SA in 1921
  • Sampson - built by Sampson's, 108 Pultney St in Adelaide c1921

Aussie Also

Copyright Leon Mitchell 1999-2001


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