The Life-Sized City Blog: New South Wales: "But We Never Used to Cycle Here" - Yeah, right

Thanks to our reader, Tim, for sending us the above photo of Australian sheepshearers on their bicycles. The bicycle is credited rightly with improving the human gene pool in the way that it increased the mobility radius for people not only in cities but also in rural areas. After the invention of the bicycle and the subsequent bicycle boom in the late 1880's, family names that were previously rooted to specific towns or regions started showing up in the registries of (relatively) far-flung parishes in the UK. The same is true for rural America and Australia. The inexpensive independent mobility that the bicycle provided allowed men and women to travel farther further in the search for work and... well... TLC.

These photographs are from the Flickr photostream of the State Library of New South Wales.

Stanmore, NSW, Australia. May, 1946.

Albury, NSW, Australia. December, 1938.

NSW, Australia. June 1937. An explanation is probably needed: "Tom Morris, who will attempt to skip from Sydney to Brisbane, via the Pacific Highway, will set out from the General Post Office at noon to-day. He has already skipped from Melbourne to Adelaide and back (1000 miles) and from Melbourne to Sydney in 28 days." His friend on the left must be an early member of the Slow Bicycle Movement.

Boys of Hoyts Clovelly Theatre Spider's Web Club ride their bikes while Spiderman looks on. Clovelly, NSW, Australia. n.d.

Jenolan Caves, NSW, Australia. April, 1903.

Man on bicycle pillioning boy. Bunaloo, NSW, Australia. "Pillioning". There's a word you don't hear every day. I'm assuming that means the boy is standing up. As opposed to that other Australianism, "dinking".

Brownie (Muriel Long) with bicycle decorated for street procession. Deniliquin, NSW. n.d.

Annie Dawson Wallace with her bicycle. NB: Annie is wearing trousers - Sydney, NSW, Australia. 1899

Man on a penny-farthing bicycle being chased by his sister (Maggie & Bob Spiers) - West Wyalong, NSW, Australia. Ca. 1900

Waratah Rovers Bicycle Club on tour. Picton, NSW, Australia. October 1900.

And a couple of street scenes from Sydney. Ca. 1900 and 1932, respectively.

Read More