Australia Post celebrates the history of bicycle design with a set of stamps featuring four Australian made bicycles from the late 19th century to 2015.
The stamps focuses on transformations in design through four bikes made in Australia between 1888 and 2015.
The iconic road bikes featured on stamps are a Bassett & Co. penny-farthing (1888), a Sutherland ladies’ safety bike (c. 1910), a Finlay Bros sprung-frame men’s safety bike (1930s) and a contemporary custom-made road bike (2015) by Baum Cycles.
Australian made Bicycles
The history of Australian made bicycles design is particularly interesting, and partly for its rapid development.
Once the technology moved beyond the much-maligned hobby horse, or Draisene – essentially propelled by the seated rider running – the major design transformations occurred over just a couple of decades from the early 1860s.
Since the bicycle’s introduction into Australia, in the second half of the 19th century, it has steadily gained popularity among many different cycling enthusiasts and communities.
Today around 55 per cent of Australian households own at least one bike in working order, and-urban cycling is on the rise with help from bicycle events like Tour de France that draw a world-wide TV audience of arm-chair cyclists.
- The penny-farthing
The penny-farthing was first made in the early 1870s in Europe, superseding the aptly named “boneshaker”.
Its high front wheel allowed for greater speeds and less stress on the rider’s legs, though it was no mean feat to mount and ride.
The penny-farthing shown in the stamp design was made by Melbourne company Bassett & Co. in 1888. Photo: Paul Farren/Peter Horsley.
- A Sutherland ladies’ safety bike
The ladies’ safety bike shown in the 70c stamp was designed and built by Melburnian Arthur Sutherland for his wife, Marion, around 1910.
The safety bike was a game changer, first appearing in 1885. Its similar-sized wheels employed a rear-wheel chain drive, the rider’s weight was lower to the ground and, in time, the robust diamond frame became the norm.
The “drop bar” opened a whole new market, making cycling more accessible to women. Photo: Katie Shanahan/National Museum of Australia.
- A Finlay Bros sprung-frame men’s safety bike
The men’s sprung-frame bike featured on the $1.85 stamp was made by Melbourne based Finlay Bros in the 1930s.
The evolution of a sprung-frame, visible above the back forks in this bike, enabled a more comfortable ride. Photo: Paul Farren/Peter Horsley.
- A contemporary custom-made road bike
The custom-made road bike featured in the $2.75 stamp, was made by Geelong-based Baum Cycles in 2015.
The company makes bespoke high-performance machines for the biking buffs on the road. Bike designers and manufacturers continue to refine design and technology, and investigate new materials. Photo: Baum Cycles.
Title: Australian made Bicycles
Date of Issue: 13 October 2015
Denominations: 70c x 2, $1.85, $2.75
Source: Australia Post