This is a guest post from my friend Wendy Moline. Wendy came across some old family photos of various motor vehicles, and I was enchanted by them. However, the first image is a very special drawing.
In bygone days
My first trip in motorised transport was in this car, which got bogged on the way to hospital. I was born on the back seat; impatient then, impatient now.
When I queried Wendy about this cartoon she provided a bit more information. Her father John was working interstate at the time and family friend Bob Patkin kindly offered to drive her mother Betty to the hospital. Unfortunately the car got bogged in red clay around the Moline family’s new home. By the time four burly workmen lifted it out the hospital proved to be too far away, and a startled Bob became a true delivery driver! Subsequently, his mate drew the cartoon, bestowing upon him the honorary title of ‘Doctor Patkin.‘ OK, Back to you Wendy.
FOUR SEATER MOTORCYCLE
Our family’s most beloved form of transport in my early days just after the war was an Indian Chief motor bike. It was a war surplus 1944 model, with an attached side car for Mum and me. My older brother rode in a dickey seat behind Dad. Dad must have had motor bikes earlier in his life, because the top of his left ear was missing from an accident. Maybe this was why he always wore an old flying cap when riding the bike, from his days in the RAAF.
Our family moved from Melbourne to Sydney when I was one and a half years old. Of course the bike came too. Sydney was a lot less developed then and we spent many happy weekends exploring the bush.
A story that Mum used to tell was of us arriving back with armloads of wildflowers, which she loved and displayed around the house. One day a friend told her it was illegal to pick them in NSW; unlike Victoria, where it was allowed.
Of course the roads we explored were pretty rough in those days. One memorable trip was on the rocky road to West Head in Kuringai Chase. How Dad managed to get the bike up this road is still a mystery.
We also used the bike to travel from Sydney to Avalon Beach, where relatives had a Burley Griffin cottage weekender. I can remember baths in water heated by the wood chip heater, koalas in the trees, and the numerous birds.
We finally sold the bike when I was about six, and bought a car. But Dad still wore his flying cap when driving.
For more on architect Walter Burley Griffin mentioned by Wendy.
Thanks so much for this Wendy. You must have had a wonderful childhood after your unplanned ‘birth on wheels’ 💛!
ANOTHER FRIEND, ANOTHER SORT OF SIDE-CAR