Australian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Barb Motorcycles

Manufactured by the Finlay Bros, 322 Elizabeth St Melbourne.

James Finlay began building bicycles named "The Barb" in 1869. The firm built motorcycles under The Barb brand and later as the GEM. The engines were from Georg E. Mathiasen of Copenhagen and were imported between 1904 and 1909. It is believed that the Findlay Bros firm continued motorcycle manufacture until 1914. An image in the Saward collection thought to be of the Finlay workshop c1908 shows two motorcycles.

They also built the "Floater" sidecar.

Bob Finlay was actively involved with motor pacing, and also competed in motorcycle races.

In 1916 the firm sold Excelsior and James motor-cycles, and in 1919 advertised B.S.A. For 1920, Cleveland and Villiers were added, and Henderson made an appearance in 1922. 1929 saw the main advertising focus as BSA which continued until at least 1936.

Postwar, they advertised Panther, Sunbeam and the Australian-made Acme.

Bicycle production continued into the 1950s.

Sources: Danish Motorcycles and Automobiles 1900-1920;; Trove NLA; et al

Further reading: at

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