Malvern Star bicycle
A star racer
The Malvern Star company presented this 4 Star 'Sid Patterson' road racer to Ernie Old in about 1956. Old’s family donated the bike to the Canberra Bicycle Museum in 1996 and, after its closure, the bike was given to the National Museum of Australia.
Ernie Old's personal challenge
Ernie Old was a young man when he caught the cycling craze and started competing in races in rural Victoria in about 1900. But he became a celebrity in his 70s when he challenged himself to ride from Melbourne to every state capitala feat he accomplished before his 76th birthday. For the next 10 years he continued to crisscross the continent, making his last marathon ride from Melbourne to Bendigo in 1960, aged 86.
Greeted as a star by cheering crowds, Ernie Old proved that travelling the vast open spaces of Australia by bike was possible and enjoyable at any age.
Supported in his marathon rides by Bruce Small's Malvern Star company, Old joined an elite group who championed cycling in Australia, as a sport, a healthy lifestyle and a sustainable form of transport. He forged friendships with famous cyclists Jack Fahey, Sid Patterson and Sir Hubert 'Oppy' Opperman.
Ernie Old's Malvern Star bicycle is currently on show in the Hall at the National Museum of Australia.