ONE OF A KIND: Indian Motorcycles will be part of a display at the Ipswich Historical Society's Cooneana Heritage Centre.
ONE OF A KIND: Indian Motorcycles will be part of a display at the Ipswich Historical Society's Cooneana Heritage Centre.

Ipswich's pride in classic rides

VINCENTS, Nortons, Eagles, BSAs, FNs - if you're anything of a motorbike fan that list should excite.

Even better, many of those vintage bikes will be on display at Ipswich's Cooneana Heritage Centre this Saturday.

These bikes have been meticulously restored and most qualify for concessional registration, but some started their second lives as virtual scrap.

Only two years ago relatives clearing out a deceased grandfather's shed found a crate containing parts of what looked like a whole motorbike.

Instead of throwing them out one grandson suggested they might be worth something.

The parts were auctioned and fetched $162,000.

They made up an early Vincent, at the time the fastest bike on earth.

The Ipswich area of the Historical Motorcycle Club of Queensland Inc (HMCCQ Inc) came about because local members became disillusioned with travelling to Brisbane for an organised ride when the majority on the ride were from Ipswich.

In 1988 Keith Bell of Raceview ran an ad in the QT to form a historic motorcycle club.

A huge turnout packed the Raceview shed of Robin Stubbs, of the old Fiveways Car Yard, and the club was formed, meeting there for some months before shifting to the Queensland Railways Institute.

Founding member Jack Weber recalls: "Many of our older members grew up using bikes on country roads before they had licenses and before compulsory crash helmets. Many of the bikes were second-hand, used as paddock bashers, long before the desire to restore and 'regain lost youth' became fashionable".

The club is increasingly active with demonstrations, exhibitions and displays and attracts much attention when school groups tour the centre. Bikes from the 1920s onwards are displayed as is the rich motorbike memorabilia - helmets, magazines, fuel cans, posters, leather gear.

This Saturday, at the Ipswich Historical Society's Golden Jubilee festival, visitors will be able to sit on the bikes, handle controls, and see a bike pedal-started or kick-started.

The clubs memorabilia is looked after and always added to by 60 members from all walks of life - airline pilots, police officers, teachers, all retired and even an undertaker, who some worry is there to drum up business. Membership includes, however, many younger enthusiasts.

All have their own vintage motorbikes or are in the process of restoring one. Some have a history of motorbike racing in Ipswich - an original racing bike from the early '60s will be on display.

The celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Ipswich Historical Society this Saturday, with free entry.

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