The South Coast Motorcycle Club
The indefatigable Brian Forth has been out and about again. It was by chance that I met with John Rose and his sister Pam Crowhurst (nee Rose) when they reminisced about their early days of riding motorcycles in the Victor Harbor area. It was in early 1946 or thereabouts, John and Pam remembered when as young teenagers with a passion for motorcycles, they would gather outside Bells Store at 43 Ocean Street, Victor Harbor, commonly known as ‘Bells Corner’, with many others local lads and their sisters and their motorcycles to socialize and chat. The first general store opened on this site in 1865, and by 1894 David Bell became the owner and for many years it was both a grocery and drapery store.
There were brothers, sisters and girlfriends in this group – you could say it was a family affair. Some held the appropriate motorcycle licence. Others were probably too young to get one, but still they would ride whatever motorcycle they could afford to purchase. The group consisted of John and Henry and sister Pam Rose; Dean, Roger and Kevin Tugwell; Harold, Clary and Ivy Baum, Denis Castle, Jeff and sister Shirley Schultz; Ralph Hughes; Jim, Dean, Les, Brian and Harold Crowhurst; Ron Duncan; and Norm Hartwick who were a part of this group. Some met and married their husband or wives such was the closeness of the group. John said they were keen to form a motorcycle club and decided to call themselves ‘South Coast Motorcycle Club’. They were never affiliated with any official club because Adelaide was too far away so the idea of a local club was a good idea at the time. The girls cut out pieces of purple/magenta coloured woollen cloth in the shape of a wheel with wings, then with gold thread hand stitched the cloth to show the outline of a wheel and wings and this was sewn on their jackets or jumpers. Pam remembers being taught how to ride an Ariel motorcycle by Bob Murfitt, who she liked at the time and rode with regularly, but later married Les Crowhurst. The discussions would involve where they would ride for that day. Would it be a hill climb in the sand hills at Chiton Rocks, or a general ride to a friend’s place? Whatever the decision, they would head off at speed along the rough and dusty roads. There was no mention of the local Police usually with Ariel sidecars outfits paying attention to them. To them, just to have enough money to purchase a motorcycle was a luxury, costing five pounds for an old average machine, or a bit more for a fast machine. Fast machines brought speed and crashes, none fatal but usually a machine was beyond repair and a new one purchased. One member’s father owned a garage and it was not uncommon for members’ motorcycles to be found there being repaired and serviced. By the early 1950s marriage, family and work commitments broke up the formality of the club, but they would occasionally meet and ride their bikes. Now most are in their 70s and 80s, and some deceased, and it is a fading memory of the wild days, but photos retained bring back memories. Pat Rose said, “They were wonderful days, we had a great time and social life, rode as far afield as Strathalbyn, but they are fading memories, the photos help us to remember those carefree days”.