The Dandenong Cycle Club, 1908 – 1948
Author: Aaron Cripps
Wednesday July 8, 1908, outside Garnar’s on the Cranbourne Road, Melbourne, at 3:23 p.m., and Mr R. West sets off on his bicycle as the limit man in the day’s race. A 10 mile route that would take the entrants 5 miles towards Cranbourne before they turned round to complete the return leg. Of the twelve who had entered only nine started on the day, perhaps due to the bad weather and the poor state of the roads after heavy rains. Behind West at staggered intervals based on their handicap were W. Morris, M. Anderson, P. Green, H. Kirkham, T. Lucy. V. W. Sime, M . Kirkham, and J. Gamble.
About 25 minutes after West had started, the race official, Mr Lewis, saw Gamble and Morris come back into view, the former having punctured and Morris having failed to go the distance. At 4 p.m. M. Kirkham crossed the finish line in first place. His brother H. Kirkham, coming in second 5 minutes later, and third place going to Green after a contested race to the line with Lucy, 2 minutes behind H. Kirkham. From surviving records we can identify the Kirkham brothers as Malcolm (born 1885) and Henry (born 1889), the eldest and youngest of three sons born to William Edward and Margaret Kirkham, of Lyndhurst, Victoria .
The first race
These scant details, reported in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal the following week. Appear to be the first recorded race of the Dandenong Cycle Club, and the first of three that were to be run in 1908 on a points basis; the overall winner being the rider who had accumulated the most points over the series. Whether it was the first ever race of the Dandenong Cycle Club, or the first of that year is unclear.
No record of the formation of the club appears to exist, at least in the newspaper archives available in the digitised newspaper collection available through the National Library of Australia’s Trove service. The article does, however, describe the event as “The first race of the Dandenong Cycle Club”. Given that other clubs in the Melbourne area are reported as actively racing from much earlier in the year it seems likely that the July 8 race was the first ever to be run by the newly formed Dandenong Cycle Club.
This article was published by Aaron Cripps on his blog; Cycling History. To read the full article click on the following link:
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