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Museum takes 'Love Wheels' into collection

20 December 2017

Rainbow crocheted bike left at the Prime Minister’s residence comes to Canberra

A male holding a colourful bike
Love Wheels on its way to Canberra – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with the bike in Sydney. Photo: Lucy Turnbull

The rainbow crocheted Love Wheels bicycle which was chained to a pole outside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Sydney home during the marriage equality postal vote campaign will join the National Museum of Australia’s collection in Canberra.

The iconic bicycle which featured on Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull’s social media channels was made by a Sydney-based yarn bomber – known as ‘Treble Maker’ – Eloise Murphy.

In a tribute to the Turnbulls’ 37-year marriage, Ms Murphy echoed the ‘Yes’ campaign’s rainbow theme in her crocheted design, which also includes YES embroidery on the purple seat, sequined hearts, photographs of the Turnbulls and quotes about their marriage.

National Museum director, Dr Mathew Trinca, thanked the Prime Minister for personally bringing the bicycle to Canberra and noted the marriage equality vote was a defining moment in Australia’s history.

‘We are delighted to receive the Love Wheels bicycle into the National Museum’s collection for all Australians to enjoy,’ said Dr Trinca.

National Museum curator Lily Withycombe said the Museum will put the bicycle on display as soon as possible: 'The bicycle will form part of a wider collection which will include objects reflecting all sides of the marriage equality debate,' said Dr Withycombe.

On 2 October 2017, Ms Murphy chained Love Wheels to a pole outside the Turnbulls’ private Point Piper residence in Sydney.

On the same day, Lucy Turnbull posted a photograph of it on her private Instagram account with the text:

'Everyone is having their say but not many say it in crochet or as lovingly & beautifully as the artist who created this bicycle we saw today. Whatever the outcome of the postal survey I hope this bicycle becomes part of a public collection for posterity #voteyes #letsgetthisdone'.

Lucy Turnbull later expressed concern about whether the decoration would survive oncoming storms and passing dogs and arranged for the lock to be cut and for the bicycle to be brought into the family residence for safekeeping.

Referring to the donation of Love Wheels to the National Museum, Prime Minister Turnbull posted on his Instagram account that, 'we will miss it but thousands of Australians will now be able to see this beautiful creation which marks Australia’s historic decision'.

The bicycle will go on display at the National Museum early in 2018.

Media contact Tracy Sutherland, 02 6208 5338 | 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au