The South Coast Motorcycle Club

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT -

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”.

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