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Adaptor
02-06-2015, 09:42 PM
Grand Voyage's sulky
One of the all time great Australian trotters Grand Voyage was trained at Huntly ( Bendigo) by Paddy Glasheen.
Grand Voyage won 37 races in Victoria, NSW and NZ, including cup races against pacers, in the 1920's.

Paddy Glasheen's grandson, Father Brian Glasheen (The Pacing Priest) has placed the sulky pulled by Grand Voyage in the care of the Bendigo Harness Racing Clubs memorabilia collection, joining the cart of Gentleman John, the 1956 Interdominion pacing winner.

Here is Fr Brian Glasheen in Preston (Melbourne) with the sulky, on the way to Bendigo. It is in good nick considering it's nearly 100 years old.

Race For Fun
02-06-2015, 10:11 PM
That's a good photo Noel, a sulky almost 100 years old. If you have a look at the positioning of the seat it is not unlike the American style sulkies that are all the rage today (no back circle to support the seat). Years ago there was a style of sulky called an eagen but it had a bar across the back to support the seat. No doubt the more things change........

Adaptor
02-06-2015, 10:34 PM
Toni
We have in the Bendigo collection an Egan (made in Sydney I think) , that was used by Eric Rothacker, from Bridgewater near Bendigo, on Gentleman John to win the 1956 Interdominion final in Sydney.
It has the support at the back of the seat that you describe.
We also have a really nice hickory Royal Speed made in Adelaide. It's the more well known style where the seat is supported on the rear crossbar.

squaregaiter
02-06-2015, 10:44 PM
Grand Voyage's sulky
One of the all time great Australian trotters Grand Voyage was trained at Huntly ( Bendigo) by Paddy Glasheen.
Grand Voyage won 37 races in Victoria, NSW and NZ, including cup races against pacers, in the 1920's.
Paddy Glasheen's grandson, Father Brian Glasheen (The Pacing Priest) has placed the sulky pulled by Grand Voyage in the care of the Bendigo Harness Racing Clubs memorabilia collection, joining the cart of Gentleman John, the 1956 Interdominion pacing winner.
Here is Fr Brian Glasheen in Preston (Melbourne) with the sulky, on the way to Bendigo. It is in good nick considering it's nearly 100 years old.


GREAT Pick Up Noel, you'll soon need to take over the Winning View room or next door for this harness museum that you are passionately getting together :)


I will see you next week, 100% if you get my drift....hope it is a great night :):)

Race For Fun
02-06-2015, 11:52 PM
Toni
We have in the Bendigo collection an Egan (made in Sydney I think) , that was used by Eric Rothacker, from Bridgewater near Bendigo, on Gentleman John to win the 1956 Interdominion final in Sydney.
It has the support at the back of the seat that you describe.
We also have a really nice hickory Royal Speed made in Adelaide. It's the more well known style where the seat is supported on the rear crossbar.

Its good that some club have displays of the industries history. Hickory shafts were the best timber shafts that you could get.
They would bend and twist when a horse hit the deck and when the horse got up the only thing wrong was the paint missing.

arlington
02-07-2015, 09:29 AM
Toni
We have in the Bendigo collection an Egan (made in Sydney I think) , that was used by Eric Rothacker, from Bridgewater near Bendigo, on Gentleman John to win the 1956 Interdominion final in Sydney.
It has the support at the back of the seat that you describe.
We also have a really nice hickory Royal Speed made in Adelaide. It's the more well known style where the seat is supported on the rear crossbar.


I remember the Royal Speeds, made by the Brewer brothers? Beautiful sulkies, hand painted.
Reg Walsh made an all hickory sulky http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=38352
If a shaft did snap, the hickory's grain didn't give a long spike.
I have seen the wooden rimmed, steel spoked race wheels with decorative paint work on the rims. And the tubeless glue on tyres. These were still used in the late 60's early 70's I think. I remember a guy named Ken, 'the wheel man' making his rounds through the trainers at the Melbourne Showgrounds, picking up and dropping off wheels each week.

Danno
02-08-2015, 12:43 AM
I remember the Royal Speeds, made by the Brewer brothers? Beautiful sulkies, hand painted.
Reg Walsh made an all hickory sulky http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=38352
If a shaft did snap, the hickory's grain didn't give a long spike.
I have seen the wooden rimmed, steel spoked race wheels with decorative paint work on the rims. And the tubeless glue on tyres. These were still used in the late 60's early 70's I think. I remember a guy named Ken, 'the wheel man' making his rounds through the trainers at the Melbourne Showgrounds, picking up and dropping off wheels each week.

G'day Wayne,

these were known as "Freebairn" wheels and tyres in NSW, and they were an extremely good wheel/tyre set, could withstand more knocks than the average set, performed REALLY well in loose conditions, and for reason unknown to myself dissappeared sometime in the late eighties/early ninties. BTW, we had an all hickory bike ( actually drove my first 20 or so winners in it in the 70's) and it was one lovely cart, with it's freebairn wheels and my youthful 55 kg frame I guarantee you the horses thought they were on their own out there!!

arlington
02-08-2015, 01:20 AM
G'day Wayne,

these were known as "Freebairn" wheels and tyres in NSW, and they were an extremely good wheel/tyre set, could withstand more knocks than the average set, performed REALLY well in loose conditions, and for reason unknown to myself dissappeared sometime in the late eighties/early ninties. BTW, we had an all hickory bike ( actually drove my first 20 or so winners in it in the 70's) and it was one lovely cart, with it's freebairn wheels and my youthful 55 kg frame I guarantee you the horses thought they were on their own out there!!


Come on Dan, still looking youthful and... in that invitational at Menangle :) I can only remember they referred to the wheels, or tyres, as singles down here. I always wanted a hickory bike, but couldn't afford a Royal Speed as a young fella. Yep those hickory sulkies, and set up, were light. The Conways, Toddway Lodge, used to put one up as a prize at the Hopetoun Show. Harder than the Hunter Cup to win.

This bit's for Noel, on the subject of sulkies. Do you know the name of the fellow that made the Hamill sulkies (assuming his name wasn't Hamill) in Kangaroo Flat. Pretty sure they weren't far from what's now Lansell Plaza, on the opposite side.

Adaptor
02-08-2015, 02:22 AM
It was Wes Hammill.
They were made from spotted gum with usually a stained finish with green and gold hand painted lines.
Over the creek past Harvey Norman on the left as you come into Bendigo from the south. It's all housing around there now.
At one stage Wes had a Cobb and Co coach in the workshop.

Messenger
02-08-2015, 02:29 AM
Spotted gum is very dense/hard wood and rather oily - makes a fantastic floor. Noel, do you know if it had characteristics suited to sulkies and thus its selection?

ps Might ask TC to role these into a Sulkies thread

Adaptor
02-08-2015, 06:04 PM
Kevin..
I have no idea. I know that spotted gum splintered and hickory was less likely to. We are trying to find an intact Hammill for our collection.
Lots of partial ones !

arlington
02-09-2015, 07:49 AM
It was Wes Hammill.
They were made from spotted gum with usually a stained finish with green and gold hand painted lines.
Over the creek past Harvey Norman on the left as you come into Bendigo from the south. It's all housing around there now.
At one stage Wes had a Cobb and Co coach in the workshop.


Thanks Noel. I bought my first sulky from Wes. Mine is blue and gold. I think he made red/gold as well as the green. I only remember giving Wes a ring to order, then met him picking it up. Still have it hanging in the shed, in pretty good nic. Unfortunately, as you alluded to, the shafts were replaced after a bingle. Wes did the repairs, still nicely painted but the original shafts, which were 'squared' in cross section, were replaced by round types.
A little of topic now but I'd had thoughts of giving the original dust sheet a run around. Thinking back to when drivers would use the cane to hit the shafts or dust sheet, with the noise encouraging a horse. Often more successful than tapping them on the rump. Yep the word cane sounds harsh, and perception was such, but often horses would come back in without a hair ruffled.

arlington
02-09-2015, 08:17 AM
Another Victorian regional sulky maker was Tasman in Echuca. Like Wes Hammill, they were timber craftsmen..to be politically correct persons, who bent their own timber. Not sure of the timeline but I think Tasman were still going when we went to chrome backed sulkies where the Hammill's were all timber.

jake80
02-10-2015, 10:23 PM
Hi Wayne,
The Royal Speeds were made by the Brown Bros. in Adelaide, they were also trainers. The Brewer was made in NSW. Both sulkies were considered to be the best of their era. My mum still has a Royal Speed sitting in the shed from the late 60's.

arlington
02-11-2015, 10:10 AM
G'day Jenny,
How slack to have missed you guys in the Elmore thread.
Thanks for that, the Royal Speeds. I'd got my B's mixed up. I remembered they were in S.A and the Brewer's, would admire them when guys like Wayne Honan came down. I think B Gath had a hickory Brewer made especially for Markovina. I bet you'd love to yoke one up to the Royal Speed and give these new carts what for even though your mum's one would be precious.
Royal Speeds and Brewers, just like Maori's Idol and True Roman.

Jim
05-17-2018, 09:35 PM
Hi people, I am doing a bit of research and I have so far been unable to track down the first production date or year of the Brewer Racing sulky, which was ubiquitous at Harold Park and many other tracks in the period 1950 - 1970. Kevin Newman, Vin Knight and many others used the Brewer and it was - I believe - the first sulky fitted with a tubular steel back bow. It was designed by the late (died 1959?) Harold Brewer and the ones I used to see for repairs were beautifully made. They were typically fitted with Freebairn Singles (possibly the most efficient sulky race wheels ever made?).
I have checked the patent office, but there are no sulky patents of any description in Harold Brewer's name, which is odd, because the word around the traps in the early 1960s was that the tubular back bow was patented and Harold was said to be ready to defend his patent.
Anyhow, anyone know anything?

Jim
05-17-2018, 10:49 PM
Spotted gum is very dense/hard wood and rather oily - makes a fantastic floor. Noel, do you know if it had characteristics suited to sulkies and thus its selection?

ps Might ask TC to role these into a Sulkies thread

Spotted gum was nearly as strong as Hickory and could be readily steam-bent to shape. It was the best Australian timber for sulky shafts. The only other one I recall was Mountain Ash, which was significantly weaker than spotted gum. One major draw-back of spotted gum shafts was their tendency to break into a long lance-like point that was both very sharp and very strong. Just the thing for penetrating horses and drivers.

Danno
05-17-2018, 10:53 PM
Not too sure I can help Jim, Dad's first race bike was an fully timber "Egan type" that had seen a few lives before he got it in the mid/late 60's, his next was a second hand ( and only second hand) all Hickory timber round back sulky that "Flash Adios" had won a bucket load of country and City races with Bob Austin in the bike. I drove my first dozen or so winners in that cart and to this day reckon it is the best cart I'v sat in. I'm also pretty sure it was a Regal, you would probably know better than me.

The Freebairn wheel you mention were truly the bees knees weren't they? In loose or heavy going they made a massive difference to how horses got to the line.

The Brewer bike had a big reputation as you would know without my saying< I have no idea why, but I always thought the Brewer was made and sold in Victoria.

You have also enlightened me on Steel tube backs, always thought it was a Regal "advancement".

Hope you get plenty of answers on this forum, but bikes are not often discussed.


Cheers,

Dan

Showgrounds
05-17-2018, 11:03 PM
Interesting background there, Jim. The first Brewer I sat in belonged to a well-known Showgrounds trainer in the mid-'70's. Beautifully made, bright chrome chassis, bow and cross bar with beautifully pin-striped hickory shafts. The thing that struck me about the sulky was its balance; sitting in it just felt so natural. Made me think I was the equal of Gordon Rothacker (or about as close as I would ever be). The Freebairn wheels had completely sealed- hubs and I remember, with some frustration, painting the glue (shellac?) on the singles and starting again when you inflated them and they hadn't stuck to the rim.

If you didn't have a Brewer you had to have a Royal Speed, made in Adelaide by the Brown brothers of Bon Adios fame. They were all hickory with a chromed-steel undercarriage and strong as all hell. It was a pretty sad day when sulkies such as these were outlawed in favour of stainless steel-shafted sulkies. While I understood the reasoning, HRA would have been better served by specifying American hickory as the only allowable timber to be used in sulkies. Don't believe me? Tackle some hardwood with identical axes, one with a hickory handle and one with spotted gum. The latter will splinter when you least expect it while the hickory will last for years.

I digress. Can't help you with much info about the Brewer Sulky apart from some certainty I have some advertising for them in old Harness Horse magazines from the early '70's. I'll try and dig my way through some over he weekend. Good luck with your research.

Jim
05-17-2018, 11:04 PM
Not too sure I can help Jim, Dad's first race bike was an fully timber "Egan type" that had seen a few lives before he got it in the mid/late 60's, his next was a second hand ( and only second hand) all Hickory timber round back sulky that "Flash Adios" had won a bucket load of country and City races with Bob Austin in the bike. I drove my first dozen or so winners in that cart and to this day reckon it is the best cart I'v sat in. I'm also pretty sure it was a Regal, you would probably know better than me.

The Freebairn wheel you mention were truly the bees knees weren't they? In loose or heavy going they made a massive difference to how horses got to the line.

The Brewer bike had a big reputation as you would know without my saying< I have no idea why, but I always thought the Brewer was made and sold in Victoria.

You have also enlightened me on Steel tube backs, always thought it was a Regal "advancement".

Hope you get plenty of answers on this forum, but bikes are not often discussed.


Cheers,

Dan

Thanks Dan. Those all-hickory chassis bikes had a great reputation for comfort, primarily because Hickory is a very "springy" timber. I cannot recall if Flash Adios raced in one of our carts, but when you have made 15,500 carts it can be pretty hard remembering what horse was in what cart - outside of Inter Dominion winners, of course. Just FYI, the Brewer was made in a small workshop in Canterbury Road, Petersham. I remember visiting it once to get a seat for a repair we were doing at that time (late 1960s).

Jim
05-17-2018, 11:16 PM
Interesting background there, Jim. The first Brewer I sat in belonged to a well-known Showgrounds trainer in the mid-'70's. Beautifully made, bright chrome chassis, bow and cross bar with beautifully pin-striped hickory shafts. The thing that struck me about the sulky was its balance; sitting in it just felt so natural. Made me think I was the equal of Gordon Rothacker (or about as close as I would ever be). The Freebairn wheels had completely sealed- hubs and I remember, with some frustration, painting the glue (shellac?) on the singles and starting again when you inflated them and they hadn't stuck to the rim.

If you didn't have a Brewer you had to have a Royal Speed, made in Adelaide by the Brown brothers of Bon Adios fame. They were all hickory with a chromed-steel undercarriage and strong as all hell. It was a pretty sad day when sulkies such as these were outlawed in favour of stainless steel-shafted sulkies. While I understood the reasoning, HRA would have been better served by specifying American hickory as the only allowable timber to be used in sulkies. Don't believe me? Tackle some hardwood with identical axes, one with a hickory handle and one with spotted gum. The latter will splinter when you least expect it while the hickory will last for years.

I digress. Can't help you with much info about the Brewer Sulky apart from some certainty I have some advertising for them in old Harness Horse magazines from the early '70's. I'll try and dig my way through some over he weekend. Good luck with your research.

Hi Trevor, Thanks for the info. FYI, there is no doubting the superiority of Hickory. When I started with dad we could get second-growth American hickory that you could literally tie in a knot. By 1970 you could only get small quantities of very inferior first-growth Hickory. By 1971 we could not get enough Hickory OR spotted gum to keep up with demand. It would be no use specifying American Hickory these days because it is almost certainly no longer available. You may also be interested to know that when the Brown Bros stopped making gigs they took up an agency for Regal sulkies until the last of them passed away. Not sure when, but I think it was one or two decades after they started selling and repairing our carts. I agree that the Royal Speed was a mighty nice cart. It was unique in having the shafts attached to the back bow with a fibreglass sheath which was finished such that the whole chassis (shafts and back bow) looked like it was made of a single piece of hickory. I think you might find that one of the prime reasons Brown Bros quit making carts was the unavailability of good Hickory.

Jim
05-17-2018, 11:34 PM
[The Freebairn wheel you mention were truly the bees knees weren't they? In loose or heavy going they made a massive difference to how horses got to the line.]

The advantages of the Freebairn Singles: Very light. Excellent hub. large tyre (44 mm) great for soft tracks which were best for horses. Tyres had the lowest hysteresis (deformation) losses of any tyre ever used in harness racing. So all up, the most energy-efficient harness racing wheels ever made. DISADVANTAGES: The 15g spokes were the lightest and weakest ever used in a harness racing wheel. Frequent spoke failures. The wooden rims were VERY fragile, a strike from a hoof would shatter them. The tyres were equally fragile, easily punctured, with the result that the flat tyre would often wind around the hub and lead to the catastrophic failure of the whole wheel. It was these disadvantages that caused R.J. Walsh & Son never to go that route. That said, nothing could match the Freebairn Singles for over-all efficiency.




Cheers,

Showgrounds
05-18-2018, 01:24 AM
Spot on with the hickory Jim; the Brown's kept renovating old sulkies long after they stopped building them. My late mate I worked for at the time ordered a new one back in '76 and got his 24-year old model fully restored at the same time. The only way I could tell the difference was the differing paint jobs. His brother still has the "new" cart hanging in the stables. Spotted gum, as sulky shafts go, makes might fine slasher and shovel handles. I used to buy them by the hundreds from a bending works by the Clyde River at Batemans Bay in the late '70's for the forestry department. Decent hickory had become impossible to source locally; we were lucky to get onto an importer sourcing them out of the States. Initially, we were very suspicious because they had been painted rather than laquered. They proved pretty good, though. A few years later, cheap Oregon was imported into Australia - plenty of rotten pergolas and verandahs on houses from the early 80's.

Legend has it the last Royal Speed ever made was offered as a trophy at the Hopetoun Show in the Mallee. It resulted in record nominations from all over the place, only for desperate trainers to be disappointed when Ross Conway fronted up to his home-town show with his great filly Copper Satin! Wonder if he still has the cart?

Jim
05-18-2018, 11:15 AM
Spot on with the hickory Jim; the Brown's kept renovating old sulkies long after they stopped building them. My late mate I worked for at the time ordered a new one back in '76 and got his 24-year old model fully restored at the same time. The only way I could tell the difference was the differing paint jobs. His brother still has the "new" cart hanging in the stables. Spotted gum, as sulky shafts go, makes might fine slasher and shovel handles. I used to buy them by the hundreds from a bending works by the Clyde River at Batemans Bay in the late '70's for the forestry department. Decent hickory had become impossible to source locally; we were lucky to get onto an importer sourcing them out of the States. Initially, we were very suspicious because they had been painted rather than laquered. They proved pretty good, though. A few years later, cheap Oregon was imported into Australia - plenty of rotten pergolas and verandahs on houses from the early 80's.

Legend has it the last Royal Speed ever made was offered as a trophy at the Hopetoun Show in the Mallee. It resulted in record nominations from all over the place, only for desperate trainers to be disappointed when Ross Conway fronted up to his home-town show with his great filly Copper Satin! Wonder if he still has the cart?

Hi Trevor, Speaking of the last Royal Speed, I am not aware of a harness racing museum anywhere in the country that has a decent collection of the iconic sulky brands of the 20th century? There certainly should be, while it is still possible to get the sulkies. Plus we, as a nation, have much to be proud of in terms of both workmanship and innovation, and it would be a shame if it all disappeared.

Toohard
05-18-2018, 08:13 PM
Hi Jim. Bendigo have a few in their museum. Will get some pics next time I'm there.

Jim
05-18-2018, 09:40 PM
Hi Jim. Bendigo have a few in their museum. Will get some pics next time I'm there.

Thanks Paul, I assume the museum is on the track? If not, address?
Cheers, Jim

Adaptor
05-19-2018, 12:59 AM
Thanks Paul, I assume the museum is on the track? If not, address?
Cheers, Jim

It's on track at Lord's Raceway. I just got home from the 10 race card. We open it during race meetings.

We have 2 really good Royal Speed Sulkies, one used less that 12 times, was owned by The Conways at Hopetoun.
We have a Regal
A Hammill
Gentleman Johns 1956 Sydney Interdominion Sulky
The legendary Grand Voyages 1920s sulky, purchased when Grand Voyage was in New Zealand
An all wood sulky from the 1910s...we think won the 1923 Boort Cup.

We are chasing a Brewer, which we are sure we have located in storage, and a Tasman which were made in Echuca.
Silver Peak's Brewer sulky owned by Brian Gath is in a house in Bendigo...I believe in the lounge room !
Come and see us !

Jim
05-19-2018, 04:12 PM
It's on track at Lord's Raceway. I just got home from the 10 race card. We open it during race meetings.

We have 2 really good Royal Speed Sulkies, one used less that 12 times, was owned by The Conways at Hopetoun.
We have a Regal
A Hammill
Gentleman Johns 1956 Sydney Interdominion Sulky
The legendary Grand Voyages 1920s sulky, purchased when Grand Voyage was in New Zealand
An all wood sulky from the 1910s...we think won the 1923 Boort Cup.

We are chasing a Brewer, which we are sure we have located in storage, and a Tasman which were made in Echuca.
Silver Peak's Brewer sulky owned by Brian Gath is in a house in Bendigo...I believe in the lounge room !
Come and see us !

Thanks. Is the Regal a wood or steel shaft? Do you have a Regal Ireland Special? Do you need images of sulkies? I would be happy to give you what I have in that department, including the Regals made in the USA.
Best regards,
Jim

Messenger
05-20-2018, 01:12 AM
Thanks for that info Jim. I had a double thickness of Spotted for a floor, when it had to be redone due to shrinking (first lot not kiln dried) - they lay the second over the first. It was so solid you would swear you were walking on a concrete slab. The off cuts were great for the open fire so I can imagine how that floor fueled the fire when that house went up in smoke.