Finlay Brothers history site

Barb Cycles
Preserving the bicycle and
motorcycle heritage of
Finlay Brothers, Elizabeth St
Melbourne, 1900-1961.
Barb advertisements 1900-1939
Barb advertisements 1900-1939
Newspaper advertisements for Barb Cycles create the historical paper-trail that documents the cycle design trends and commercial decision making within the early years of Finlay Brothers - particularly before motorcycles made their appearance.

With photographs of early Barb bicycles being scarce, the illustrations on the advertisements provide fascinating details about the early bicycles. 


Source: The North Eastern Ensign (Benalla, Vic: 1872-1938), September 24, 1909, 1.

It appears that Finlay Brothers were advertising a range of probably four different bicycle models by 1909-1910, and had produced a catalogue.  The advertisement above from The North Eastern Ensign shows a "Model 2 Road Racer".1 

These four different bicycle models were advertised in numerous country newspapers:

Model Special for £15
Model 2 for £12 10s
Model 3 for £10
Model 4 for £8 10s 2

Of interest, the following advertisement seems to infer that Barb Cycles had been producing bicycles since around 1897.


Source:  Mornington and Dromana Standard (Vic:1908-1911), December 25, 1909, 3.

The search for bicycle sales in country areas of Victoria led to Finlay Brothers advertising for "Agents".  At one stage, they advertised that as a "special offer", their agents would be given a free bicycle.3

One of the particular agencies that advertised prolifically in the early years was Rosenthal's Barb Cycle Depot in Mildura.  This shop appears to have been quite diversified, selling sporting, electrical and cycle products.


Source: The Mildura Cultivator (Vic: 1888-1920), January 8, 1910, 8.


Source: Euroa Advertiser (Vic: 1884-1920), December 23, 1910, 4.

Any permanency of address - of the early premises of Finlay Brothers - has been very difficult to determine. As can be seen from the varying addresses on the advertisements listed here, apart from street numbering changes, Finlay Brothers may have either been using multiple shop sites simultaneously or have actually moved several times. Certainly the common theme of these early years is maintaining a presence in Elizabeth Street.


Source: The Broadford Courier and Reedy Creek Times (Broadford, Vic: 1893-1916), May 5, 1911, 2.


Source: Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic: 1911-1920), September 2, 1911, 1.


1. The North Eastern Ensign (Benalla, Vic: 1872-1938), September 24, 1909, 1.

2.  Mornington and Dromana Standard (Vic:1908-1911), December 25, 1909, 3.

3.  Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic: 1911-1920), April 22, 1911, 1.

Barb Cycles