Arthur Richardson

A born adventurer, among his many feats at the turn of the 20th century Arthur Richardson planned and executed the first solo circumcycling of Australia. Hugh Richardson, Arthur's grand nephew, has republished the famous and rare account of Arthur's trip "A Remarkable Ride". Hugh spoke at the January 2018 meeting. Copies of the book are available from Hugh's website


Richardson Reaches Katherine The West Australian Monday September 11th 1899

On Friday evening we received the following telegram from Arthur Richardson, who is engaged in an attempt to cycle round Australia, and who left Perth early in June last :

KATHERINE, September 8.
From Hall’s Creek, the last telegraph station on the West Austral- ian side, I rode across very rough, mountain- ous country to Flora Valley, then running the Regenda Creek down to Booty’s station. Here the bad country for blacks commenced with a rough piece of country to Ord River Station. I got through all right, and, spelling there for two days, I got a look at some maps of the country, for there are no roads or tracks from Ord River to the Katherine. I also got a good supply of our, beef, etc. I made a seven days’ stage “per boot” to Wave Hill, having a very rough time, running out of tucker, and living like a black- fellow. I struck Wave Hill Station all right. Mr. Cahill, the manager, made me very wel- come, and I had a good spell there.
Then, with the worst patch of country in Australia in front of me, I got a black boy to show me a short cut across the ranges to the Victoria River but he “reckoned plenty blackfel- lows all about,” and ran away, the rst night, leaving me “on my own.” I had a very rough time from constant exposure and several falls caused through travelling at night, and had very little sleep, for the blacks are very bad. I had no “ tucker“ but what I could catch, and I was fairly tired out by the time I struck the Victoria River about seven miles below the station. Here Mr. Watson, the manager, insisted on my having a good spell, absolutely refusing to let me go on.
Luckily, while I was there he had news from Wyndham that would take him to Port Darwin at once, so I travelled in with him. We were both glad of company for the blacks are bad all through here, and no one ever goes out mustering without a 9in.“colt” in his belt. The last two hundred and forty miles to the Katherine has not had any wheel traf c on it for four years, so that I could not travel much faster with my bike than Mr. Watson with the horses. We got in here this afternoon. My bike tyres are all right, and I am going strongly.

A Cure For Sleepless Nights

The WA State Government has rewritten the Association Act, the new act came into effect in July the 1st 2016. Pretty exciting, huh? Just you wait!

The West Australian Historical Cycle Club's constitution needs to be updated to comply with the new act. Yes, your heart is racing!

A special general meeting has been called on Nov 20th to vote on the club's new rules. That's right, it's no longer a constitution (they've fallen into disrepute didn't you know), they're just rules.

Please familiarise yourself with the new rules ahead of the vote. 

Alan Hind 1938 - 2017

Long term club member Alan Hind died suddenly at home from a heart attack in July. He was aged 79. Alan had suffered heart issues since a valve replacement operation in 2008, though that didn’t dampen his love of cycling or spirit
of adventure.

Alan was one of 5 children born to William and Mary Hind in Glasgow in April of 1938. Following his schooling he completed an apprenticeship as a fitter and joined the Merchant Navy in 1959, working for a few years on the cargo ship Sundra. In 1961, while fourth engineer on the passenger ship Oriana, he met his future wife Pam. After marrying in Glasgow in 1962 Alan and Pam emigrated to Australia.

Cycling and travel are natural bedfellows and those that knew Alan will know that his passion for both remained undiminished through his life. He began riding in his teens, travelling around Scotland with friends. He travelled all over WA with his young family and his 50th birthday treat was a trek in Nepal. His last big cycle tour through Europe was undertaken just a few years ago at the age of 75.

Like many of us Alan was an inveterate “joiner”. Apart from the WAHCC he was an active member of the Over 55’s Cycling Club, the Canning Mens’ Shed, the WA Cricket Association and had been a member of several photography clubs. Alan joined the WAHCC early in the life of the club and was rarely absent from a meeting. 

He was a frequent contributor to show and tell, either with one of his beloved Flying Scots or one of many intriguing unusual frames he had collected along the way. He often joined club displays and almost always joined club rides, usually piloting a Claud Butler fixie. Alan served on the club committee a number of times and was a committee member at the time of his death. 

His contributions to club life go far beyond that though; over the years many members were beneficiaries of Alan’s knowledge, his good humour and of his generosity. We will all cherish the memory of Alan’s smile.

Alan is survived by two sons, Ian and Alistair, and Christiaan, his grandson

WA Bicycle Number Plates

Bicycle registration is a bit of a hot button dog whistling topic these days. It’s been tried and dropped in WA in the past, but the relics of the experiment live on in a few club members’ collections. If they’re still hanging off a bike they could help establish the bike’s age or origin.

Geoff Owen's Books

The club had the great pleasure of hosting a presentation by Geoff Owen on March 20 2017. Geoff is a book collector with a focus on cycling books. While his collection encompasses many areas of cycling he is particularly fascinated by the personal history genre - stories of the mad endurance cyclists traversing a new nation, many in the days before roads. 
A bibliography of the books covered is below the photos.

The Ingenious Mr Pedersen; David Evans; Alan Sutton 1978

Pedals, Politics and People; Hubert Opperman; Haldane Sydney 1977
First race at age 15
Died on an exercise bike in his retirement home
Record breaking 2875 mile ride Fremantle to Sydney
Held 24 hour record for a time
Idolised by French
Won Paris-Brest 726 miles
Became a federal politician - Minister for Immigration

From Ocean to Ocean; Jerome Murif; George Robertson 1897
Adelaide to Darwin 74 days traversed marshy lakes Gibber Plain and railway ballast, wore pyjamas and high boots

By Bread Alone; Ernie Old; George House Melbourne 1950
Anzac soldier, born in poverty ,mother died in childbirth, long cycling career,  cycled Melbourne to Perth and return in 62 days in 1948

The Book of Albert McDonald of Orroroo; By one who knew him; The Austral Cycle Agency Ltd( sellers of Swift Cycles)
1895 Time Darwin to Melbourne 33 days 5 hours 30 minutes - daily average distance 78 miles, -distance 2596 miles. Orroroo 3 hours north of Adelaide, population currently 540.

My World on Wheels; Russell Mockridge (posthumously completed by John Burrows) Stanley Paul 1960
1928-1958 killed in collision with bus Dandenong and Clayton Roads Melbourne
Rode with Hubert Opperman
Won 12 consecutive Australian championships

The Story of a Remarkable Ride; As Related to “Pedal” of The West Australian; The Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co. of Australasia, Melbourne 1900
Arthur Richardson’s circumnavigation of the continent. Photocopy only - an exceedingly rare book. 

Battle Fronts of Outback; Francis Birtles; Angus and Robertson Sydney 1935
A re-cap in part of next item

Lonely Lands; Francis Birtles; New South Wales Bookstall Co. 1909
(see also Francis Birtles;Australian Adventurer by Warren Brown Hachette 2012-and Grit, an Epic journey Across the world, Peter Wherrett., Ibis date ?)
1910-1911 rode around Australia
1905 Perth -Sydney Record
Subsequently held Sydney-Fremantle Record 31 days
1927 London to Darwin-customs at Darwin wanted to impound

H. Grivell; Australian Cycling in the Golden Days; Courier Press Adelaide 1949
89 articles by various authors including Hubert Opperman,an article entitled ‘ The Decline of Cycle Racing’- see comments by Major Taylor

Round the World on a Wheel; Fraser ; Nelson Londonpost 1899
John Fraser 1868-1936, knighted 1917. 19237 miles in 26 months on a ‘Rover’ safety bicycle.

Cycling to War ; Austin; Slouch Hat Publishers 2008

The Bicycle and the Bush ; Fitzpatrick;  OUP 1980
Unparalleled as a history of cycling, especially of Western Australia-essential reading

Last of the Explorers (Story of Donald Mackay); Clune; Angus and Robertson 1942
Trip taken 1899 with Alex White 11500 miles,24 inch bike overall weight 29 pounds DUX brand bicycle, carried a revolver. Includes exploits in New Guinea and N.T. Worked for a time with Basedow Famour anthropologist, lots of good photos of aboriginal life.

Hard Liberty ; Fred Blakely; Harrap and Co 1938
1930 Looked for Lasseters Reef

Major Taylor in Australia : Jim Fitzpatrick Star Hill Studio 2011

Horizon Bound on a Bicycle ;Eywind Earle, Publisher Earle and Bain 1990 (a cycle trip solo commenced in 1937 across America -difficult to believe)

A few of the books are available online at the National Library of Australia website. Links to a couple of the shorter, rarer ones;
Albert MacDonald of Orroroo

Story Of A Remarkable Ride


Perth to Sydney - 1933 Record Tandem Ride

There was no made road across the Nullarbor and at one stage they spent two days wheeling their cycle through heavy sand. Another section was pitted with camel tracks; sometimes the country was overgrown with brush and near the Madura Pass the jagged edge of limestone had been exposed by strong winds.

Goldfields Ride Wrap

The Inaugural Percy Armstrong Goldfields Ride, which traced the first delivery of the Coolgardie Cycle Express Co in 1894 by cycling Pioneer Percy Armstrong, was undoubtedly an overwhelming success. Six riders and one catering manager enjoyed a memorable 70km riding experience spread over two days. Someone has surely put together a cycling experiences bucket list, but I’m afraid it needs updating as the Percy Armstrong Goldfields Ride has to be added to the list.   

Great Southern WAHCC members Glenn Huffer, Nick Raven and Murray Gomm were joined by Perth members Viv Cull and Robbie Harrold. Kalgoorlie vintage cycling enthusiast, and unofficial tour guide, Paul Day also completed the ride. Great Southern member Collyn Gawned, incapacitated by recent shoulder surgery, was the catering manager and against doctors’ orders, completed the final ride into Ora Banda.

Accommodation was either swag or tent and meals were around the campfire with Collyn’s lamb casserole followed by dumplings for dessert a clear favourite. Generous amounts of bacon and eggs and no shortage of porridge for breakfast ensured riders were well prepared for the day ahead. Collyn also bought along some homemade Percy Armstrong Ale, Murray shared his Coolgardie Cycle Express Co port and Viv’s whisky ensured riders all had a solid night’s sleep.  

Unsurprisingly, it was cold overnight with zero degrees the norm. We fell on our feet with the daytime weather as the conditions were perfect for riding with blue skies, little to no breeze and not a single bushfly sighted over the entire trip. Thanks to generous rain in the region prior to our ride, the roads were in great condition to ride. They were firm and compacted, no mud was traversed. Taking in the scenery did have to be combined with eyes on the road to avoid corrugations and ruts however.

An unexpected bonus throughout the ride and around the campfire was the amount of local knowledge was Paul Day provided. Paul was a pedalling encyclopaedia on the history and flora and fauna of the region. The highlight of his wisdom was undoubtedly stopping at three abandoned bush velodromes that could still be seen.

The bikes that were ridden were sympathetic to the era with Nick riding a 1920’s Ren Star with Kelly bars, Glenn on a circa 1940’s Flying Arrow (previously owned by Phil Harris), Robbie on a Triumph with nickel plated handlebars so definitely some age there, Viv on an old safety inspectors bike, Murray on a 1936 Malvern Star and Paul on a bike modelled on an old Goldfields bike in a photo. He started with a BSA chain ring and then built the rest. 

There were a number of keen fossickers that spent many a daylight hour looking for treasures along the way. Robbie set the standard five minutes into the ride by spotting an 1896 English threepence at the abandoned Coolgardie bush velodrome. After day one a number of old bicycle components were found and the challenge was laid down to find enough parts of old Goldfields bikes to make a complete bike to ride the Percy Armstrong Goldfield Ride in the future. Robbie was up to the challenge and got up at dawn the next day and scoured the Ora Banda tip with a fine tooth comb and came back with an armful of parts. Clearly we will need to complete the Ride again and fossick some more, but the challenge is looking definitely doable!  



There were only a couple of minor breakdowns, Nick had a chain guard rattle loose and Murray lost both soles of his boots. Fortunately there was plenty of rusty fencing wire on hand to twitch up the latter.

Robbie Harrold took a number of photos and plans to show a video of the Ride at the next Perth meeting which will be an event not to be missed.

Event Coordinator Glenn Huffer and Catering Manager Collyn Gawned, who also drove the sag wagon, deserve special mention for all the hard work they put in that resulted in a Ride of great substance that was enjoyed by all.





Vale Peter Wells

Club member Peter Wells died at Fiona Stanley Hospital on Monday September 13th. He was 88.

Peter was a founding member of the club. He had been club president for many years, a role he only recently reired from. 

Those who knew him will remember him not only for his his passion for WA made bikes, but for his passion for the club. His contribution to the club was immense; aside from his years on committee he was responsible for the newsletter and organised many of our rides and displays. His mechanical knowledge and generosity with expertise to club members was second to none.

Funeral details;

20 Sep 2016 10:00AM Sacred Heart Catholic ChurchDiscovery Drive Thornlie

20 Sep 2016 1:15PM Fremantle Cemetery

It is my sincere hope that as many club members as possible attend to pay tribute to a man who gave so much to his fellow members. 

On a personal note it was Peter who introduced me to the club just 5 years ago, an introduction that I’ll always be grateful for.

Robert Frith, club president

Peter visiting ex member Patrick Leverett in Melbourne in 2010. Photo courtesy Patrick Leverett.

Arthur Grady Day Display 2016

Club members just enjoyed the best Arthur Grady Day we've done yet! Seven members rocked up with over twenty bikes between them. Alan Hind's trio of Flying Scots attracted a lot of interest, as did Robert Hunt's Raleigh town bike. The Bell's penny farthing, kindly brought along by Andrew Blackmore, fascinates the great unwashed no end.
Heavy overnight showers cleared and presented us with a beautiful cool, sunny day.