On the ‘About’ page of our website we mention “the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has a bike on display ridden around Australia in 1899 by Donald Mackay”. Our discovery of this bicycle in 2008 became another piece of our justification that it was practical for us to undertake the same journey in 2009.
At various times during the last 12 months we would think of Donald Mackay and his single speed bicycle completing the same journey 110 years ago. Mostly our comment was "HOW did he cope?"
The difficulties Mackay would have experienced were more extreme and very different to what we have experienced. Firstly, in 1899, unlike today there was not a sealed road around our continent. In fact in many places there was not even a road. Secondly, his Dux bicycle was single speed – no 27 gears back then. Thirdly, he left Darwin in October and arrived in Perth on 5 February, 1900, traversing the Kimberley and the West Coast during the hottest months of the year.
The only conclusion Denise and I can draw from reading about his journey is that he was a very tough and determined character.
So today, after prior arrangement with the museum, we undertook a small pilgrimage and had our bicycles photographed next to the very simple machine that took Donald Mackay around Australia 110 years ago.
To read more about Mackay visit the Powerhouse Museum website.
Thank you to Marinco Kojdanovski from the Powerhouse for taking the above photo for us.
Zoom into the map and use the 'Satellite' layer
to see our new location.
Denise crossing 'the coat hanger' (Sydney Harbour Bridge)
This yellow sign at the end of the Harbour Bridge bike lane amused us. The sign reads "Uneven Surface Take Care". Given the 55 steps that we had just descended from the bridge level with our bikes the sign does state the bleeding obvious. Who do these signs protect?