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National Museum of Australia on the hunt for four historic bikes

Alia Parker's picture
Man and woman on tandem Malvern Star. Cycle Traveller

The National Museum of Australia is on the hunt for historic bicycles and cycling gear to be part of an exhibition that will tour the country next year.

The travelling exhibition, which will hit the road in mid-2014, aims to explore the important place bicycles have occupied in the hearts of Australians over the past 100 years. However, there are a number of key items missing from the museum's collection and three States in particular are underrepresented.

As a result, the National Museum, based in Canberra, is looking to bolster its collection and is calling on those in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia to check their old garden sheds for historic bicycles as well as pre-war cycling outfits.

The museum has its heart set on four specific bikes:

1) a bicycle from the late 19th Century or early 20th Century, that might have been used for racing or commuting;
2) an ‘Oppy’ model Malvern Star, used for touring or racing during the 1920s or 1930s;
3) a track-racing bike; and
4) a child’s bicycle from the 1960s or 1970s.

It is also looking for cycling outfits for both men and women that pre-date 1945.

The museum said a bike suitable for the National Museum of Australia’s collection must have “provenance”.

“That means that the Museum must be able to demonstrate and document the origin and history of the bicycle; be able to recall stories about the object; and have photographs of the object being used,” said National Museum senior curator, Daniel Oakman.

Do you have a bicycle that fits the bill? If you're interested in being involved, contact the National Museum of Australia's Duty Curator at or phone (02) 6208 5019. The museum said it welcomes donations, however, would consider purchasing items suitable for the exhibition.

Image: Man and woman on a tandem Malvern Star, a Melbourn-made bicycle from about the 1930s.

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