Finlay Brothers history site

Preserving the bicycle and
motorcycle heritage of
Finlay Brothers, Elizabeth St
Melbourne, 1900-1961.
World War II Army motorcycles
World War II Army motorcycles
Two extremely interesting photographs by Lyle Fowler were recently found in the State Library of Victoria's catalogue.  They are dated c1941, but we are wondering if they show army BSA motorcycles - suggesting perhaps the 1942-1945 period of World War II, when Australia's military involvement increased.  It is probable that the building shown is the first or second floor of the Finlay Brothers Workshop.

We are seeking further information on the scenes in these photographs, and would welcome people with further information to make contact with us.

Possibly the motorcycles shown here are new vehicles awaiting delivery.

An employee of Finlay Brothers who began work in the firm's Workshop during the wartime era of 1942 feels that they are probably B.S.A. M20 500cc side valve motorcycles - a model used extensively by the British forces - and recalls that:

"The new bikes arrived in knocked down form and had to be assembled oil added road tested etc."

"The Brownout headlight fitting was standard."

With the return of the 9th. Divvy from the M.E. [Middle East] early 1943 to fight in N.G. there was a great influx of bikes they bought back with them for repairs to the Finlay's workshop, they had had a tough life in the deserts over there.  I worked  on later shipments of [B.S.A.'s] and WLA. Harleys with the arrival of the [Americans]."1

Lyle Fowler, Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria

Lyle Fowler, Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria


1. Brian Lanyon, personal communication, May 9, 2013.