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86/1827 Motorcycle, Waratah, 125 cc, engine No. 580/31457, frame No. AU/2517, metal / rubber / plastic / glass / leather, possibly made in England, distributed by P. and R. Williams, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1948. Click to enlarge.

Waratah Motorcycle

Made
The engine and frame number on this Waratah brand motorcycle indicate it was built in 1948 with the manufacturers being noted as P. and R. Williams of Sydney. However, from the 1920s to the 1940s there were many attempts to establish a motorcycling industry in Australia. Many so-called Australian motorcycles were usually assembled from imported British components or imported from Britain and rebadged in Australia. This motorcycle is very similar to the British Excelsior Universal motorcycle of …

Summary

Object No.

86/1827

Object Statement

Motorcycle, Waratah, 125 cc, engine No. 580/31457, frame No. AU/2517, metal / rubber / plastic / glass / leather, possibly made in England, distributed by P. and R. Williams, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1948

Physical Description

Motorcycle, Waratah, 125 cc, engine No. 580/31457, frame No. AU/2517, metal / rubber / plastic / glass / leather [made in England], distributed by P. and R. Williams, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1948

Motorcycle powered by Villiers single cylinder air cooled engine. Gearbox integral with engine.

Specifications

Builder: P and R Williams, Sydney
Production dates: 1914 to 1951
Engine: Villiers, single cylinder, 125 cc two stroke
Engine No. 580/31457
Frame No. AU/2517

Marks

Transfer on l.h.s and r.h.s. petrol tank "Waratah"
Inscription on headlight "Miller"
Inscription on crank case cover "Villiers"

Dimensions

Height

1000 mm

Width

700 mm

Production

Notes

It is thought that this Waratah motorcycle was made in Britain. According to the 'A-Z of Australian-made Motorcycles 1893-1942', Waratah motorcycles were originally sold by Williams Bros, of 213-217 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. The firm had been established in 1905 by W.A. Williams who had been the manager of the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency Ltd, who built Waratah bicycles. Williams retained the 'Canada' name until 1913 when it became Williams Bros. Meanwhile, by 1920 a separate Williams family company, run by P. and R. Williams (Percy and Reginald Williams were the sons of W.A. Williams), was operating from 74-78 Wentworth Street, Sydney. They built lightweight two-stroke motorcycles with two and three quarter horse power engines of their own design. However, by 1926 they were using Villiers engines and their motorcycles they sold were was identical to the Waratahs sold by Williams Bros. The Waratahs of this period had a 2-stroke Villiers 1½ hp (147 cc) engine with 2 speeds and belt final drive. The frame was either sourced from the English Sun Co. or its frame components were made with local tubing comprising a single top frame carrying an underslung fuel tank. By the late 1920s larger models were on offer with a 2½ hp (247 cc) and 3½ hp (343 cc) Villiers 2-stroke engine with saddle tank frames and Brampton forks.

In the early 1930s P. and R. Williams took over Williams Bros and Waratah motorcycles continued to be sold throughout the Depression. The Waratah then reappeared after the Second World War with sales during the first 9 months of 1946 amounting to 100 units.

History

Notes

This motorcycle was purchased for the collection in 1986. It was purchased by the vendor's wife for her own use.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1986

Acquisition Date

29 December 1986

Cite this Object

Harvard

Waratah Motorcycle 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 September 2021, <https://ma.as/61186>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/61186 |title=Waratah Motorcycle |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 September 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}