Little Bourke St., Melbourne
Alfred George Healing established a business in Bridge Road Richmond in 1896 initially as an agency for the London-based Haddon Cycle Company. By 1902, the A.G. Healing Ltd name appeared with an address in Niagara Lane, Melbourne. The company began importing FN motor cyles in 1903 and also marketed its own motor cycle under the 'Petrel' brand. In 1910, John 'Bert' Rhodes was appointed as Manager and the firm expanded its range of local and imported motor cycle components and engines including Peerless and Precision brand motor cycles as well as imported Fafnir, American De Luxe and (after 1918) JAP engines. By the end of the First World War, Healings had become the largest motor cycle business in Australia. Their Healing bicycle brand was also well-known.
By the 1930s the company had diversifed into domestic goods, especially household radios, and motor cycle manufacture ceased. Just after World War II, the company produced a powered version of its bicycle using a 30 c.c Wayco two-stroke engine mounted over the rear wheel. This small engine had an oil-filled clutch. The 'auto cycle' concept was popular in the UK and Europe at the time as cars and motor cycles were expensive and hard to obtain. Petrol rationing also stayed in force until 1949 in Australia. The arrival of cheaper mopeds, scooters and cars in the 1950s soon made the auto cycle hard to sell and it largely disappeared. Healings became a major local manufacturer of television sets and whitegoods.
This was one of several brands produced by the firm.
The Healing concern also built motorcycles using the Blue Bird, Peerless, Regnis, and De Luxe labels, and supplied components to other Australian manufacturers.
A variety of models was built from 1912 to 1920 for another Melbourne firm who rebadged them as Regnis. These included the Peerless fitted with JAP, MAG, King Dick, Precision and De Luxe engines.
This was Healing's first motorcycle, assembled in Melbourne and equipped with Minerva engines from Belgium. Later the engines were built locally under license until 1910, and were supplied by Healing's to many Australian manufacturers of the Edwardian era.
Manufactured by Healing & Co of Melbourne using Fafnir engines, and later Precision Peerless V-twin engines which are thought to have been built specifically for Healing, though by 1915 they were available to other producers both in Australia and the UK.
Leon Mitchel has a Peerless of which he writes that it has "an unusual 5 hp Precision outside-flywheel twin. F.E. Baker in Birmingham built a range of interesting engines in the pre-war years, and this one was reputedly made solely for A.G. Healings for use in their Peerless motorcycles." His is a 5 h.p. unit, which he has not seen on any other make.
Precision Healings also built a range of motorcycles under the Precision brand, most of which used the 4¼ hp "Big Four" engine. Others were fitted with 2¼ hp two-strokes, and V-twins of up to 8 h.p. The engines were sold to Australian builders such as Lewis, Bullock and others. It is believed complete motorcycles were also sold and then re-branded.
Healing's built frames from 1912 to 1923, and supplied both frame components and complete frames to other firms, including G.C.S. Davies-Franklin, EB, Pasco and Swastika.
Sources: earlymotor.com, The Motor Cycle, Australia Post, et al.
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