Manufactured by Austral Cycle Agency
306-307 Little Flinders St, Melbourne - 139-141 Elizabeth St, Melbourne (1898)
Branches: 391 George St Sydney; Queen Street, Brisbane; Gray Street, Hamilton; Malop Street, Geelong; Hay Street Perth.
The first motorcycle to arrive in Australia was imported by the Austral Cycle Agency. It arrived in Brisbane in 1895 bound for a customer in Mackay, 1000 km north. It was displayed in the firm's Queen Street store until February 1896 awaiting supplies of benzol from Sydney, and before delivery caused a sensation on Brisbane streets when it was ridden. Leon Mitchel in his Dec 2012 edition of "Serpolette's Tricycle" explains why the machine was most likely an Ariel.
On being interviewed Mr Hunter said that it was the intention of Mr Elliott to make the trip again. Both riders are satisfied that the machines are able to do the work in record time, barring accidents. The machines, on good rood, put in about 15 miles per hour. In one place the cyclists were chased by a bull!
Murrumburrah Signal and County of Harden Advocate (NSW) Sat 17 Nov 1900
FIRE IN HAY-STREET.
Perth, Friday Evening.
This afternoon a fire broke out in Dean's chemist shop in Hay-street. The shop and the Austral Cycle Agency adjoining were both gutted whilst their front portions were damaged by water and smoke.
Great Southern Herald (Katanning, WA) Sat 19 Dec 1908 (Trove)
It has been suggested that Sparkbrook motorcycles may have been marketed under the Austral name in the 1920s. See the page on Torpedo of Launceston.
Austral bicycles were very popular in Australia - there was an Austral Wheel Race with a prize of 240 gold sovereigns (a small fortune at the time), and even an Austral cycling magazine. One of their riders became a household name - Valda Unthank (1909-1987) was a champion cyclist during the 1930s, breaking numerous records.
N.B. The Austral name was in use in France. See Austral 1905-1932
Sources: Trove NLA; Leon Mitchel, earlymotor.com; blog.qagoma.qld.gov.au; onlinebicyclemuseum.co.uk.
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