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95/228/1 Map, Australia, annotated with the route of Donald Mackay's bicycle ride around Australia 1900, paper, map compiled and drawn by Lands & Survey Branch, Department of Works, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia, 1929, made by H.J. Green, Government Printer, Melbourne, Victoria,. Click to enlarge.

Route map of Donald Mackay's bicycle ride around Australia in 1900

Made
In 1900 Donald Mackay, became the third person to cycle around the Australian continent after Arthur Richardson and Alex White. Mackay set a new 'Around Australia Cycling Record' of 240 days 7 hours and 30 minutes. He pedaled a Dux bicycle, 11 000 miles (17 700 km) through scarcely known areas north through Queensland, across the Northern Territory, down the west coast of the continent, across the Nullarbor Plain, then up the eastern coast. Mackay broke Richardson's record by three days.

Mackay's ride represents a vital and largely overlooked aspect of Australia's transport history. It was the last of a plethora of long distance cycling trips in Australia between 1897 and 1900 to prove the suitability and utility of the bicycle as a means of rural and outback transport.

Summary

Object No.

95/228/1

Object Statement

Map, Australia, annotated with the route of Donald Mackay's bicycle ride around Australia 1900, paper, map compiled and drawn by Lands & Survey Branch, Department of Works, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia, 1929, made by H.J. Green, Government Printer, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1929

Physical Description

Map of Australia, annotated with the route of Donald Mackay's bicycle ride around Australia 1900, paper, map compiled and drawn by Lands & Survey Branch, Department of Works, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 1929

Colour printed map of Australia mounted on a thin sheet of wood with the route of Donald Mackay's bicycle ride around Australia in 1900 drawn on the map in red. Hand written in black ink on the map 'Bicycle Records / held by / Donald Mackay / year 1900 / Round Australia 240 days 7 hours 30 minutes / Perth to Brisbane 48 days 4 hours 15 minutes / Perth to Sydney 40 days 6 hours 50 minutes'. Printed in black lower left corner 'H.J. Green, Govt Printer, Melbourne', in lower right corner 'Complied and drawn by Lands & Survey Branch, Department of Works, Canberra, 1929'.

Dimensions

Height

745 mm

Width

965 mm

Production

Notes

Printed on lower right corner of map. No information is available on the author of the map notations.

Printed in lower left corner of map.

History

Notes

Donald Mackay was born in 1870 at Yass, NSW, the son of Alexander Mackay, owner of Wallenbeen station and his wife Annie nee Mackenzie, both Scottish born. Donald was educated at Wallenbeen Public School and at Oaklands School, Mittagong, NSW. He left school at 17 and worked as an engineering apprentice at Waugh and Josephson's in Sydney. City life was unappealing to him and he returned to Wallenbeen and worked as a jackaroo. Donald's father died in 1890 leaving him a small fortune which he used to travel extensively throughout the world. He later tried prospecting for gold in western New South Wales where he came in contact with the bicycle as a means of inland transport. He used one to travel to various places including Milparinka, Tibooburra and Broken Hill, as well as Adelaide and Melbourne.

In 1899 Mackay heard about Arthur Richardson's proposed attempt to ride around Australia on a bicycle and began planning his own trip. Richardson had already achieved notoriety in 1896 when he was the first to ride west to east across the continent over the Nullarbor Plain. Mackay arranged to ride with Frank White, another well known overland rider, who had cycled around Australia from Perth to Rockhampton and back in 5 months. They were to start in Melbourne and travel anti-clockwise via Queensland, round and down to Perth, and then back to Melbourne. Richardson, who had started about a month before them, had travelled north from Perth in a clockwise direction.

At the last moment Mackay pulled out of the trip due to mining commitments and Frank White teamed up with his brother, Alex, and started the ride from Melbourne on 30 June 1899. Mackay managed to curtail his mining activities and joined the party in Brisbane. The three riders set out from Brisbane on 30 July 1899.

They reached Darwin on the 20 October after nearly perishing in the desert outside Powell Creek. Alex contracted a persistent case of dysentery and this slowed the progress of the party. They then met Richardson travelling in the opposite direction and were able to swap notes about the conditions they could expect along the way. Unfortunately an expected shipment of tyres and inner tubes had not arrived in Darwin and after an unsuccessful search of the town the cyclists proceeded on their journey with their already fraying tyres. To remedy this situation they cut untanned calf hides into strips and wrapped it around the tyres with lashings of rubber solution. This seemed to work quite successfully but outside Darwin Frank White's bicycle suffered irreparable damage to the pedal crank and he had to withdraw from the expedition.

The two remaining cyclists, Mackay and Alex White, arrived in Perth on 5 February 1900. Two days before their arrival Arthur Richardson arrived in Perth becoming the first person to circumnavigate the country by bicycle. Richardson had completed his ride in 243 days which meant that Mackay had to pedal from Perth to Brisbane in under 50 days to better this time.

Donald Mackay arrived at the Brisbane GPO at 5.15 pm on 25 March 1900 and set a new around Australia record of 240 days 7 hours and 30 minutes. In the process he also set new records for the Perth to Sydney and Perth to Brisbane legs.

Mackay financed the trip himself but was presented with two trophies at its completion. After his ride Mackay referred to his Dux bicycle as the "best little wheel I ever rode" and "although I humped it over rocks, through great swamps, and crashed into stumps and logs on a thousand occasions it stood up every time and never needed the slightest repair".

During the ride Mackay carried two water cans, attached to the bicycle weighing about 15 lbs (7 kg) which were in fact a failure, a revolver, ammunition, a set of tools and bicycle parts (that were never needed), a camera, a waterproof cloak, diary, time book and food bag. During the trip he wore out two pairs of cycle pants and four pairs of cycle shoes, all of which had extra heavy soles.

Source

Credit Line

Source unknown

Acquisition Date

18 August 1995

Cite this Object

Harvard

Route map of Donald Mackay's bicycle ride around Australia in 1900 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 March 2021, <https://ma.as/146199>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/146199 |title=Route map of Donald Mackay's bicycle ride around Australia in 1900 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=7 March 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}