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.
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.