Not see­ing the tree for the for­est

In OBA 73 I wrote a short ar­ti­cle seeking fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on a G & B liv­er­ied King Dick I was for­tu­nate to be­come cus­to­dian of in Novem­ber 2017.

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT - Story Dick Pris­grove

Within the ar­ti­cle I at­tached a photo of the bike with a gentleman astride it, whom I thought to be a Mr Al­fred A. Camp­bell. I ar­rived at this possibilit­y after as­sum­ing all things cap­tured within the photo were Tas­ma­nian. I was wrong and the evidence was hid­ing in plain sight, I just didn’t see it. The colour se­quence used on the num­ber plate is in fact a NSW is­sue.

Ear­lier this year I re­ceived an email from the grand­daugh­ter of the ac­tual gentleman astride, cour­tesy of the Edi­tor of OBA in­form­ing me that this is Mr Al­bert H. Wal­ters of Der­went Park, Tas­ma­nia. Though Mr Wal­ters’ name wasn’t known to me at the time of writ­ing the ar­ti­cle, it was known to me by the time his grand­daugh­ter wrote to me, cour­tesy of another reader who had put me in touch with a bloke who knew a bloke, who knew a bloke. You get the pic­ture, though in this case, it re­ally did lead me to the per­son whose pur­chase of the bike was on the 6th June 1964 for £10. This led me to the name of Wal­ters. So be­gan the in­ter­est in this par­tic­u­lar King Dick, of per­haps be­ing an Aus­tralian made mo­tor-bi­cy­cle and be­ing cited in both Mr David Dum­ble’s book in 1974 and Mr Rob Saward’s book in 1996. And all due to the in­ter­est of the G & B logo on the petrol tank. In the time that Mr Wal­ters’ grand­daugh­ter has been in con­tact with me, she has gen­er­ously pro­vided many doc­u­ments from her fam­ily archives, which in­cluded some won­der­ful ex­tracts from a con­tem­po­ra­ne­ously di­ary Al­bert kept dur­ing the early 1900s. This di­ary along with all the en­tries within the Tas­ma­nia Po­lice Gazettes ref­er­enc­ing The Mo­tor Traf­fic Act 1907 and the pho­to­graphs shown here, I was ex­tremely grate­ful to re­ceive and taken in 1964. I have been able to as­sem­ble a com­plete owner his­tory of the G & B lo­goed King Dick. The Abing­don (es­tab­lished as Abing­don after lo­cat­ing fac­tory frame No. 75), King Dick, en­gine No. 74, was first reg­is­tered on 18th March 1910 to Mr H.J. Fitzger­ald of 56 Queen Street, Sandy Bay, Tas­ma­nia. On 3rd De­cem­ber 1910, Mr Fitzger­ald sold the bike to Mr Al­bert H. Wal­ters who trans­ferred it into his name on the 9th De­cem­ber 1910 and while do­ing so, had him­self reg­is­tered as a driver. Mr Wal­ters as it turns out was both quite the in­no­va­tor and an entreprene­ur (South­ern Cross cab­i­nets), mov­ing to Syd­ney for a pe­riod from Oc­to­ber 1911 to the be­gin­ning of 1914 to de­velop his busi­ness, reg­is­ter­ing the King Dick in NSW, be elected Vice Pres­i­dent, Trea­surer and Chair­man of Com­mit­tee of the Mo­tor­cy­cle Club of NSW, (which met at the Sports Club rooms in Hunter Street), join the Syd­ney Mo­tor Club and do a 2 day ride past Pen­rith and into the Blue Moun­tains. All on the 1910 King Dick. On re­turn to Ho­bart in 1914, he had to regis­ter the bike back into Tas­ma­nia and was thus is­sued with num­ber plate 2764 and last re-reg­is­tered the bike in June 1917. At some point be­tween June 1917 and June 1918, the bike was put into a dry stor­age within the con­fines of Al­berts Cab­i­net works un­til it again saw the light of day on 6th June 1964. And as men­tioned in OBA 73, the bike even­tu­ally came to Vic­to­ria and I am now its 7th cus­to­dian. The only ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion I can add to the Wal­ter Ga­ha­gan and Chas Bed­dome and the G & B story that I didn’t men­tion in is­sue OBA 73, is both Ga­ha­gan and Bed­dome in­di­vid­u­ally and un­der the G & B com­pany name, are cited as reg­is­ter­ing, sell­ing and trans­fer­ring mo­tor­cy­cles in the very first gazetted record of the Mo­tor Traf­fic Act of 1907, in the March 1909 edi­tion of the Tas­ma­nia Po­lice Gazette. It is un­for­tu­nate that so very lit­tle from the Wally Ga­ha­gan & Charles Bed­dome era has sur­vived, the only known de­scrip­tion of the G & B logo on the 1910 King Dick. And an en­graved Wally Ga­ha­gan, Ho­bart Tas­ma­nia Bluemel’s Ster­ling bi­cy­cle pump which was most gen­er­ously given to me by Mr Howard Bur­rows, seems to be it!

TOP Al­bert H. Wal­ters on the G&B. LEFT The Abing­don en­gine. ABOVE The pump, em­bossed Wally Ga­ha­gan Ho­bart Tas­ma­nia. The G&B as it was in 1964. I’d like to thank the fol­low­ing peo­ple for all their help. Mr Wil­liam (Bill) White­ley (Eng­land), Mr John Hill (Tas­ma­nia), Mr Ken Young (Tas­ma­nia), Mr Dave Moore (Tas­ma­nia), Mr Richard Locke (Tas­ma­nia), Ms Julie Wal­ters (Tas­ma­nia), Mr Leon Mitchell (Ade­laide) and Mr Jim Scaysbrook, Old Bike Aus­trala­sia.

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