Cycling in Sydney Australia
......around every large centre of population at least in which cyclists foregather, there should be established cycling paths, along which both ladies and gentlemen may ride in safety.
THE MINISTER FOR WORKS ON CYCLE PATHS
The Hon. E W O'Sullivan has been elected president of the League of Wheelmen. The Minister for Works has taken an active interest in the movement in favour of the construction of cycle paths, and in the course of an interview on the subject he said:- “It has been well remarked that cycle paths are a protest against bad roads. It is a declaration of independence, which for the time being lifts the cycle out of the mud. It is impossible for cyclists to pursue their health-promoting pastime upon some of the roads of this country, and therefore, around every large centre of population at least in which cyclists foregather, there should be established cycling paths, along which both ladies and gentlemen may ride in safety. Judging by some of the illustrations given of the roads in the United States, they are in a far worse condition than those in Australia, and therefore cycling paths have been established there near every large city. New Zealand and Victoria have also their cycling paths. Most of the cycling paths constructed in the United States and elsewhere are, however, short ones, going from one mile to ten miles.
The one just finished from Manly to Pittwater is 20 miles in length, and therefore I think I can claim for it that the path is one of the longest, if not the longest, in the world. Cyclists are now a very important body of the community, and I think they have rights which should be respected. Ladies participate in the pastime, and there can be no doubt that cycling is promoting the health as well as the happiness of both sexes. Then the cyclists on their trips spend a considerable amount of money, and this helps on many deserving tradesmen as well as assisting the Federal Treasury. "Good roads and equal rights for all" should be the motto, but sometimes cyclists are obstructed in their trips by heavy traffic and bad roads. Therefore, if we have cycle paths near every centre of population there will be better accommodation for cyclists, and they will be kept by themselves. Cycling has assumed such proportions now in this State, that, I think, it will soon be necessary to introduce a law to provide for the laying down of permanent tracks or cycle paths for the convenience of cyclists. Such a measure is already spoken about in New Zealand, and the necessity for it is apparent here also. In fact it may be said that unless there is a statute protecting these cycle paths they must soon be destroyed. Therefore I think the time has arrived when cycling paths should become the subject of legislation as well as of administration. The influence of the cycle paths movement is making itself felt in a marked manner in the United States where the various State authorities are making exhaustive experiments as to the best class of roads used for the accommodation of cyclists. In doing this they will gradually improve the roadways, so that all other classes of the community will benefit as well as the cyclists. A forward policy must prevail in the matter of cycling, as in all other matters, if we desire to preserve the good name which Australia has for progress in every part of the world.”
“THE NEW CYCLE TRACK – MANLY TO PITTWATER
Pleasant conditions attended the official opening on Saturday [7 September 1901] afternoon by Mr E W O‟Sullivan, Minister for Works, and president of the New South Wales League of Wheelmen, of the cycle path from Manly to Pittwater, recently illustrated in "The Mail’. The weather was beautifully fine, and the path, as dry and resilient as a cinder path on a summer day. It was arranged that a procession of motor-cars, cyclists, and drags containing nonriders, and headed by a motor-car carrying the Minister for Works, should leave the square opposite Manly pier at 3.15pm, but in consequence of the 2.30 pm boat from Circular Quay, with a contingent of 300 cyclists aboard, arriving a little late, the procession did not start until 3.30 pm. Half an hour prior to that the Minister for Works arrived in the steam launch Eva, with a party of visitors, who included Messrs Price, Willis, Levy, T Fitzpatrick, Donaldson, Byrne and Oakes, MsLA. The Minister was received by Mr Quirk, MLA, member for the district, a large number of the leading residents of Manly, and the members of the Public Cycle Paths Committee – Messrs J B Holdsworth (chairman), A Blacket, Smith, and G Corkhill, of the New South Wales Touring Union, Messrs Leslie Curnow (hon secretary), C A Grocott, and A H Short, of the New South Wales League of Wheelmen. Fully 3000 residents and visitors were assembled, and accorded Mr O‟Sullivan a hearty welcome. At least 500 cyclists were present, and as many of them carried flags, flowers and streamers, a pretty effect was produced when the procession was under weigh.
The procession, headed by four motor cars, moved off at a good pace, and about a mile out of Manly reached the commencement of the cycle path, the place being marked by archways erected over the paths on each side of the road, and bearing the sign “Pittwater Cycle Path, 1901”. A run of about a mile brought the procession to Greendale, where the opening ceremony was to be performed. The hon secretary of the Public Cycle Paths Committee, Mr Leslie Curnow, who had been indefatigable in his efforts to have the path constructed, and to see that the opening ceremony was performed under the most favourable conditions, had the place decorated with flags and streamers, so that it presented a very pretty appearance. One could see by the rapid pace at which the cyclists bowled along the path that it was in good order, and fast. When further consolidated by cycle traffic it will become still faster, and if arrangements are made to keep it in good order the cyclists of New South Wales will be under a debt of gratitude to the untiring labours of the path committee for providing a pleasant run through some of the most beautiful coast line scenery to be found in the state. The cyclists and visitors having gathered round a temporary platform provided for the occasion, Mr Quirk, MLA, called upon the Minister for Works to declare the cycle path open.
The Minister for Works, who was received with cheers, said that on behalf of the people of Manly, as well as the cyclists of New South Wales, he had great pleasure in declaring the Manly to Pittwater cycle path open for all time. (Applause.) It might not be known to all present that it was one of the longest cycle paths in the world. In America the paths ranged from 4 to 17 miles long, in Dunedin they were 7 miles, and in Victoria 10 miles long, but the Manly to Pittwater cycle path, counting 10 miles out from Manly on one side of the road, and 10 miles in on the other side, was 20 miles long.”
On Saturday 7 September 1901 the new cycle track was finally opened:
That is fantastic. And I think we should resurrect the League of Wheelmen, though perhaps with the addition of Wheelwomen.
'One could see by the rapid pace at which the cyclists bowled along the path that it was in good order, and fast'
Speedster louts clad in the latest technical cycling britches, no doubt.
Alas, I did not buy the bike glasses! The regret. So, am still as dorky as ever :)
The claim that the State Government completed the longest public cycle path in the world in 1901 ... is bogus.
The longest cycle path in the world at that time, was completed in 1898 between the mining towns of Menzies and Mulline in Western Australia and it was approximately 25 miles long.
Mulline is an abandoned goldfields townsite nowadays, located about 40 km west of Menzies. Gold was discovered in this area in the mid 1890s, and the numbers of miners in the area was sufficient for a townsite. Mulline was gazetted in 1897, and takes its name from Mulline Rock, an Aboriginal name recorded by Surveyor Brazier in 1894.
baa baa, Greendale as mentioned above is now Brookvale. I think it a bit ironic, looking at the plaque, considering Manly has sacked it's bike committee and has a pretty slender commitment to keeping its bicycle infrastrure in order these days. Will you be at the Retro Ride on Sunday? I will be in disguise, just not sure what as, yet. Those photos in the old paper are realy great! I think Dee Why Hill" is Griffin Rd. Seems odd the path did not follow Pittwater Rd instead, although the current car door lane path is on Griffin, 800mm (maybe) not 8 feet.