Australian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Australis Motorcycles

Manufactured by G.W. & G. Wood, Leichhardt, New South Wales, 1896 to 1906.

Their first vehicle was a motor bicycle built in 1895. Another was built in 1896, followed by a two-seater buggy powered by a 3hp engine in 1900 and a 7hp twin-cylinder light buggy.

They also built a 1¾ h.p. racing machine in 1905 referred to in the press as a "Wood".

The Powerhouse Museum has one of their engines, embossed on the crankcase of which is "Austral Engine Works, Leichardt NSW".

Who made in Australia the first motor cycle, the first motor and forecar, and the first tri-car? The honour of making and introducing the three types belongs to Messrs G. W. and G. Wood, who lived in Leichhardt at the time. According to accounts these mechanics took the initiative in motor matters as early as 1865 when after studying the theoretical side of the question for a couple of years, they decided upon purchasing a set of engine castings, which were then procurable from a well known electrician...

The immediate success that attended Messrs Woods' invention at once led them to experiment with an attachment to fit to the front of the motor cycle, and after numerous attempts a chair arrangement with rests for the feet, much resembling the ordinary forecar of today...

The Sydney Morning Herald Thu 4 May 1905

The limit man in Monday's race is G Wood and hails from Leichhardt. He will ride a 1¾ h.p. Wood cycle, fitted with a patent automatic carburetter and an enclosed fan, which, worked by a small belt direct from the pulley wheel, throws a continuous cool draught of air around the cylinder of the motor, and thus prevents overheating even when travelling fast. Both of the Jarman motors and Woods' machine are built by the respective riders, and from the fact of their being Australian productions a lot of attention is certain to be centred on their running.

The Sydney Morning Herald Sat 30 Sep 1905
Motorcycle Racing NSW (1905)

Sources: Wikipedia, Trove NLA,

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