Arthur Richardson
Book Creation

The reprint of Dunlop's booklet came about by coincidence; publishers Owen and Richardson had known each other for over 40 years, having worked together at the Swan Brewery in the mid 1970s. Owen had been a cycling weekend warrior, regularly tackling the Kalamunda Climb. Whilst lunching one day early 2017, Owen cast disparaging comments about Richardson's 40 year-old deadly-treadly, one on which he had cycled to the lunch. As barbs grew more accurate, Richardson, in a fit of defensive pique, responded:

"Well, my great-uncle was the first bloke to cycle around Australia!"

"Ah, rubbish, Hugh, that was Arthur Rich. . . " The words ground to a halt, the surnames aligning.

After a little validation of claims and putting together separate resources of the inspiring journey, this republishing of Dunlop's Remarkable Ride was born.

Owen had a photocopy of the original booklet by Dunlop, and had been struck by the cycling community's ignorance of the pioneering efforts of 'Wheelers', of the 19th Century cyclists in using cycles to replace horses before autos came along. Cyclists were likely at the core of Australia's first manufacturing industry, first assembling imported machines, then fabricating, machining and assembling cycles for a mass market in Melbourne and Sydney, with lesser businesses in the other colonies.

Bagley and Richardson contributed family records, and the awe with which their parents spoke of 'Mad Uncle Arthur' and his heroic exploits. Some of these exploits are set out in the book.

The cover on the home page is copied from the original, together with artists' impressions the Dunlop-original contained. Photography was in its infancy thus the impressions. Arthur travelled light and the imposition of the Western Mail camera when he reached Mullewa was not small. The Box Brownie did not become available until 1906, so photographic equipment in 1899 may have been substantial. After the photos of the Mid-West reproduced in the book, Arthur gave it up, probably at Karatha or Derby.

On its own, the Story of a Remarkable Ride as originally published seems improbable. It was about 18600 km, just over seven months. We tracked down articles from newspapers, in addition to those in the Western Mail, to validate The Story. From all around Australia, reader interest in the pioneering Wheelers was strong. Whenever the long-distance cyclists arrived in a town or city, they were enthusiastically fêted by their cycling communities, and that reported in the local newspapers of the day.

The book is enhanced by the additional material, plus photographs of the man, that have survived nearly 120 years.