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Thread: Sulkies and Harness New and Old

  1. #11
    Senior Member 4YO Adaptor will become famous soon enough
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    Noel Ridge
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    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 !

  2. #12
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year arlington will become famous soon enough
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    Wayne Hayes
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adaptor View Post
    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.
    Last edited by arlington; 02-09-2015 at 08:03 AM.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year arlington will become famous soon enough
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    Wayne Hayes
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    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.

  4. #14
    Junior Member Foal jake80 will become famous soon enough
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    Jenny Johnson
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    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.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year arlington will become famous soon enough
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    Wayne Hayes
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    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.
    Last edited by arlington; 02-11-2015 at 10:18 AM.

  6. #16
    Junior Member Weanling Jim will become famous soon enough
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    James Walsh
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    *

    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?

  7. #17
    Junior Member Weanling Jim will become famous soon enough
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    James Walsh
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    Quote Originally Posted by Messenger View Post
    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.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Stallion Danno is a jewel in the rough
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    Dan Gibson
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    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

  9. #19
    Senior Member 2YO Showgrounds will become famous soon enough
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    Trevor Brown
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    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.

  10. #20
    Junior Member Weanling Jim will become famous soon enough
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    James Walsh
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    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).

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