Vintage motorcycles journey down memory lane

Vintage motorcycles
John “Feathers” Fetherstonhaugh with three vintage motorcycles he displayed at the Cordalba State School 125th anniversary celebrations.

If you want to take a trip down “memory lane” do it on a vintage motorcycle — it sure beats walking!

That’s the advice from vintage motorcycles devotee John “Feathers” Fetherstonhaugh who is a member of the Historical Motorcycle Club of Queensland, Childers area.

John takes every opportunity that comes along to spread the word about the club’s activities and where better to talk about the beauty and benefits of historical motorcycles than at the recent 125th anniversary celebration of the Cordalba State School.

Three gleaming vintage motorcycles were a drawcard attraction at the school anniversary in what is best termed as the “yesteryear” display.

The display comprised old engines and pumps, vintage rope making demonstrations, old cars and trucks, retro house items and John’s three glorious relics that clearly showed a graceful stage in the evolution of the motorcycle as we know it today.

John was parked in a fold-out chair in the shade of a large leafy tree and watched casually as passers-by “ooh-ed” and aah-ed” at these two wheeled beasts from long ago.

Talking with John or “Feathers” as he prefers to be called, quickly sees the laid back fold-out chair persona disappear and in its place an enthusiastic champion for the Historical Motorcycle Club of Queensland and its bikes.

“Mate, we really need to promote this organisation. My aim is to get an organised show of these bikes in Childers,” he said.

“I’ve been talking with the Deputy Mayor Bill Trevor and he believes these events are just the sort of thing the Council is keen to foster in the area.

“It brings people, and believe me, people who own historical motorcycles travel a long way to be a part of a rally and a show.”

Turning to his own mini display of three vintage motorcycles, John points to an old 1913 Triumph which he says is his favourite of the three, the other two being a second Triumph and finally an old 1920 Indian.

The bike is the same as the rebuilt bike ridden to a land speed record in the US by Kiwi Burt Monroe in 1967 and glorified in the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian”.

However, Feathers' eyes shine with admiration as he recounts the glory days of the 1913 Triumph.

“It was built pre First World War and was used in France during the war years by dispatch riders. Lord knows how they got it through those muddy roads.”

The bike is basic in structure with a skeletal frame, chain drive with a small 550cc engine and no lights. “Feathers” says his bike has a top speed of around 70kmh.

“I don’t think I would want to be sitting astride it at anything faster than that,” he laughed.

“I have only been living in the Childers area for about 12 months but it’s amazing the amount of people you come in contact with who have an interest in old motorcycles and who direct you to other enthusiasts or to people who can assist with the maintenance of your bikes.

“I am really hopeful that we can get some assistance to provide a display of historical motorcycles in Childers.”

Anyone who would like addition information in relation to the Childers area membership of the Historical Motorcycle Club of Queensland can contact “Feathers” on 0438 882 265.