Finlay Brothers history site

Barb Cycles
Preserving the bicycle and
motorcycle heritage of
Finlay Brothers, Elizabeth St
Melbourne, 1900-1961.
The 1909 Barb Competition
The 1909 Barb Competition
Competition for sales must have been fierce among the early bicycle manufacturers.  The following newspaper announcement gives an intriging glimpse into the early years of Victorian cycling. 

(Due to the poor clarity of the print, this article has been transcribed below - scroll down past the original article to read it.)

Source: Euroa Advertiser1


Direct transcription of original article:

Free Prize Competition

Open to Everyone.                       All have an Equal Chance.

The “BARB” CYCLE Manufacturers Invite you to Enter.

1st Prize                A HIGH-GRADE “BARB” BICYCLE.                              1st Prize

2nd Prize               DOUBLE-BARRELLED BREECH-LOADING GUN.         2nd Prize

3rd Prize                FIRST-CLASS CYCLE GAS LAMP.                              3rd Prize

Having taken a List of Names of Users of Bicycles throughout Victoria, including a few from every district, and written each name on a separate paper, which has been folded and placed in a barrel and thoroughly mixed up, 50 folded slips have been drawn out and numbered on the outside 1 to 50, as they were drawn.  These have been placed in an envelope and sealed up, so that no one knows the chosen names.

We now invite the public to send in a list of names, with full addresses and occupation, of all the ladies or gentlemen they know who use bicycles in any part of Victoria.  These lists will be carefully checked by special clerks and placed in a special index.  The sealed envelope will be opened when competition is closed and the competitor who includes the greatest number of the 50 names, or, in the case of two or more getting same number, the one who places names nearest in rotation as per selected list wins the prize.


1.       Entries will only be accepted on forms supplied, which we will send on receipt of name, address and stamp.

2.       No names will be accepted unless with full address and occupation (if any).

3.       Entries close on 7th December, 1909.

4.       The Firm’s award will be final.

Winner’s names will be published in this paper on 21st December, 1909.

The largest list will not necessarily win, as a small list may include the greatest number of drawn names, yet the more names you give the better your chance.  It is quite probable that your neighbouring cyclist may be the first-name drawn, no matter in what part of Victoria you live, so everyone should compete, even if they only know a few cyclists.


Note New Address-

                                   FINLAY BROTHERS-

                                                   Competition Department.

                                                                          312 Elizabeth Street,


Source: Euroa Advertiser2

And the winners?...
The finalists of this competition were announced several weeks later - look at the last few lines of the following advertisement.

Source: Alexandra and Yea Standard and Yarck, Gobur, Thornton and Acheron Express3


1.  Euroa
Advertiser (Vic: 1884-1920), November 19, 1909, 5.

2.  Ibid.

3.   Alexandra and Yea Standard and Yarck, Gobur, Thornton and Acheron Express (Vic: 1908-1949), February 4, 1910, 4.
Barb Cycles