First MC built in Launceston
The bike is a 1905 Brandwood Minerva of 3 1/2 hp
Minerva was one of the great names in the early days of motorcycling, producing its first clip-on motor bicycle engine in 1900. Its advanced designs and reputation for superb engineering quality led to many supply contracts and by the end of 1902 it was supplying engines to more than 75 cycle factories in Britain and Europe, and employing a work force of 1,000 people. In 1903, it introduced mechanically-operated inlet valves rather than atmospheric valves, a spray carburettor to replace the surface type and produced its first cradle loop frame with the engine mounted within it.
According to the auction house through which this 1905 single-cylinder, 433cc, 3½hp Minerva was purchased, it is one of the first pioneer motorcycles to arrive in New Zealand and its history has been preserved in well-kept records. The original owner was one Thomas Hancock, who was born in a wattle-and-daub hut in the winter of 1879 among the muddy goldfields of Munro’s Gully near Lawrence in Otago. Hancock successfully mined Munro’s Gully and the Blue Spur mine to acquire modest wealth and become the first local to own a motorcycle, having purchased the Minerva from Marshall & Summers in Milton. Legend has it that he used it to become the first person to take a motorcycle to the top of a hill known as Jacob’s Ladder and onto the spur above Gabriel’s Gully goldfield.
The Minerva is single-speed with ignition via a Bosch magneto, belt drive and starting/assist pedals. It has Chater Lea sprung front forks and beaded tyres. It remained in the Hancock family for three generations and was purchased for the NZ Classic Motorcycles collection in October, 2011. It was acquired by Transport World in May 2016.
Photos of a restored one
Veteran Car Club of Australia (Tasmania )Inc