AMAZING CYCLING FEAT IN 1902 BY EDDIE BOWRING OF RED HILL, VIC., AUST.
Mr Eddie Bowring. of Red Hill,"biked" it to Melbourne on Tuesday and put up a record, doing the return trip in a little over three hours." (P.2, Mornington Standard, 26-4-1902.)
This article was discovered by chance several years ago and recent exhaustive attempts to locate it again on trove failed dismally, so I've decided to include it in a new journal. Last night while looking for information about the Littlejohn family provided by the late Thelma Littlejohn, I turned to my DICTIONARY HISTORY OF RED HILL journal and there it was, in the BOWRING entry. Eddie's daughter, Florrie, was Thelma's mother.
Eddie had been on his Red Hill Village Settlement block for about a year and his ride to Melbourne had almost certainly been to Mt. Alexander Rd, Essendon, where his father, Edward lived. Eddie could have been excused for neglecting to visit his parents because his work clearing the huge eucalypts from his Prossors Lane block would have been exhausting and he'd found the love of his life on the settlement. Mr Harvey, who became his father in law in 1903, was building a house on his block.
Imagine what his time would have been if he'd had good roads with a surface such as today's peninsula link. To put his feat into context, I'll provide some information about Point Nepean Road in 1902 from trove. Firstly though, I must point out that from the top of Olivers Hill at Frankston, Old Mornington Rd, Mt Eliza Way and Wooralla Drive was originally part of the road and remained so until the 1970's.
"The pleasure of the run was enhanced by the cycle paths, which enabled the wheelmen to escape some
of the worst parts of the road." This was a motor cycle tour from Brighton to Frankston with a STOP at Mordialloc. (P.18, Leader, 13-9-1902.)
ON THE ARTHUR'S SEAT RANGE.
The Mornington peninsular (sic) has furnished many
interestlng trips to the Wheelmen of the metropolis,
and the following one, submitted by an enthusiastic
rider, is a fair sample of the kind of outing to be
obtained in that locality. He adopted the train,
to Frankston, and chose the coast road over the
plateau of Mt. Eliza, but found the road in many
places rather heavy from dust and sand, due to
the prolonged drought. The eight miles to Mor
nington occupied him an hour, but passing by the
township, he kept along the Nepean-road towards
Dromana. He pedalled up the long climb over Mt.
Martha, most of which has an excellent surface,
except on towards the,top, but as the descent be-
gins, the road improves over the steepest portion,
while further below the unmetalled part proved
tiresome and treacherous, owing to dust and ruts.
At a point* 2 1/2 miles before Dromana is reached |
there is an intersection, the Dromana and Sor-
rento road turning off "to the right, but the track
leading straight on runs up to Red Hill, and then
over to the Arthur Seat range of mountains.
There is a very long rise to be negotiated ere Red
Hill is gained, but except for the first half mile,
there is a good roadway. At the end of two miles
a turn was made to the right, and passing the
local post-office the tourist wheeled over hilly
(at the south end of Sheehans Rd he turned right to Higgens Corner near the Red Hill Consolidated School site, whereas Eddie would have turned left.) P.24, The Australian, 29-3-1902.
on 2017-01-13 22:41:14
Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.