|Finlay Brothers history site|
|Preserving the bicycle and|
motorcycle heritage of
Finlay Brothers, Elizabeth St
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. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70761184
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. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70086973
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. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74859419
Source: Euroa Advertiser (Vic: 1884-1920), December 23, 1910, 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65634419
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. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59209748
Source: Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic: 1911-1920), September 2, 1911, 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65846814
1. The North Eastern Ensign (Benalla, Vic: 1872-1938), September 24, 1909, 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70761184
2. Mornington and Dromana Standard (Vic:1908-1911), December 25, 1909, 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70086973
3. Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic: 1911-1920), April 22, 1911, 1. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65846263