Made in Australia, Oceania, 1950-1970.

Australian ‘billycarts’ were used as early as the 1880s. They were either literally drawn by a billygoat - hence the Australian name ‘billycart’- or small two wheeled hand carts for which the name billycart had already become a generic term.

The term billycart is an Australian variation of the English goat cart which, like the dog cart, was originally an 18th and 19th century form of animal-propelled baby carriage. A later development - the mail cart - was a two wheeled vehicle based upon the ...


Billycart, wood/metal/rubber, Australia, 1950-1970.

The chassis of this billycart is made from wood. A plank forms the central axis. A wooden crate, cut down to four sides, forms the cabin and seat. A brown hessian bag has been draped over the back of this crate. Stuck on the left side of the crate is a piece of paper with the inscription; '3" 162 S/G FILE/H'. At the rear is a black metal number plate 'AB 48'. The front and rear metal axles are attached to wooden planks. The rear is fixed the front pivoted with a bolt to enable steering. A length of 'steering' rope has been attached to this front wooden axle plank. There are four metal rimmed spoked wheels. The front wheels have solid rubber tyres, the rear wheels have no tyres.


370 mm
530 mm


Commercial variations of the home-made 'fruit box' billy cart appeared by the late 1960s, early 1970s - Raleigh produced a commercial billy cart in the 1970s called a 'Hi Speed Billy Cart Rail'. The term 'go-cart' now tends to refer to a motorised cart.

This billycart is typical of the H-shaped chassis cart with simple pivot steering. Like many home-made billycarts it is constructed from pre-used materials - a wooden box, scrap timber and pram or shopping trolley type wheels.


Gift of the National Trust of Australia, NSW, 1999
11 January, 1999

Cite this Object

Billycart 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 22 September 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Billycart |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=22 September 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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