Australian & NZ Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Bennett & Barkell (B & B)

Produced from c.1910 to 1932 (or later) by Bennett & Barkell Ltd. of 234 Pitt Street, 124-132 Castlereagh Street, and later the corner of Meagher and Chippen Streets, Sydney.

Using JAP engines and Chater-Lea frames with Druid forks, models of 2½ h.p., 3½ h.p., 4 h.p. (500cc), 6 h.p. (770cc) and 8 h.p. (1000cc) were offered. Some later models had an unusual suspension system which linked the seat with the footboards to better cope with harsh Australian conditions.

A very fine example was restored by Len Oakman of Wagga Wagga, NSW, and remained in the family after his passing.

Sources: Wikipedia, Trove NLA, et al.

Bennett & Barkell History

In 1914-1916 Bennett & Barkell sold both bicycles and motorcycles and every type of accessory for both. They had depots in Dubbo, Maitland, Newcastle, Tamworth, Wagga and Sydney.

The Bennett and Barkell store in Wagga was in the Northern section of the main street. Bayliss/Fitzmaurice Street runs across the Wollundry Lagoon and was known as Newtown. It was located there from 17 June 1908 to September 1910 and then moved to a new location in Newtown from September 1910 to 1920. That building existed much as it was until at least 2014, when it was an op-shop supporting the Wagga Wagga hospital.

Courtesy Howard Burrows and Ralph Mouth.


B. and B. Motor-cycles are built for Australian conditions. They are lighter in weight than the usual type of heavy-duty machine, but much heavier than the usual light-weight 90 or 100 lb. motor cycle.

The frame is scientifically constructed, too, and though lighter in weight than many higher-powered machines, will stand a greater road strain. The engine is only 2½ h.p. J.A.P., but owing to the light construction of the frame it accomplishes as much as, if not more, than the cycles which arc encumbered with a superfluous amount of metal.

Tyres are Dunlop or Continental heavy motor cycle, and either will give a great mileage before needing to be replaced.

£55 is the price of this cycle, and it's the lowest you can secure for a machine of the quality of this B. and B.

If you will call, we shall be glad to demonstrate one to you, and it you have a friend who knows "what's what" in motor-cycles, bring him along. He can but endorse the remarks we make.


Largest Cycle-building House in the State
234 Pitt-street, and Castlereagh-street, Sydney.

Trove NLA: The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 27 May 1911

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