Imagine what it was like: Australia’s motoring history on display in Parramatta

A REPLICA of one of the world’s first ‘motor-bicycles’ that Australian Winifred Wells rode in 1950 from Sydney to Perth and back goes on display at Parramatta’s Moto Machine.

Dubbed Project Origin, the ‘motor-bicycle’ was faithfully recreated by Royal Enfield, the oldest motorcycle brand still in continuous production and sold by an Australian company, Moto Machine in Parramatta.

The replica on display to surely be a hit to both motoring enthusiasts and history buffs is based on the first ‘motor-bicycle’, as shown in the photographs, that the company first built during the Federation era in 1901.

In Australia, the Royal Enfield Bullet was the first motorcycle ridden solo by a woman across Australia, which is a remarkable story of courage and perseverance, Royal Enfield historian Gordon May said.

In December 26, 1950, then 22-year-old Winifred Wells rode a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet from Perth to Sydney and back.

Miss Wells drove it over 5,500 miles or 8,852 kilometres, in 21 days. She was the first woman to ride solo across Australia.

Mr May said riding the very first Royal Enfield motor-bicycle was nothing like riding the modern versions of many types of motorcycles today.
“If you look where the engine is, its centre of gravity is in totally the wrong place, making the original Royal Enfield a challenge to ride,” Mr May said.
“It also had no throttle, no clutch and only one gear so it goes full speed, full power the whole time.

“Imagine what that was like back in 1901 when you’d never ridden a motor-bicycle before, and you go off down the road at 30 miles an hour with only bicycle brakes.”

Project Origin was re-created by a dedicated team of enthusiasts who delved back through a century of books, drawings and technical documents to bring a pioneering era of two-wheeled motorised transportation back to life.

“Royal Enfield is an iconic name in motorcycle history and has probably carried more riders over more miles than any other brand,” Mr May said.

“It provided the allies with motorcycle sidecar ambulances to transport wounded soldiers in the First World War and enabled the British troops to parachute motorcycles onto the battlefields in the Second World War.”

Project Origin has been touring the world and will be on display at Moto Machine on for one day only on Friday, 16 February from 5pm – 8pm.
They are located at Unit 1, 10 James Ruse Drive, corner of Parramatta Road, Clyde NSW. For enquiries, call (02) 9637 0722 or visit

Australian woman Winifred Wells photographed with her father George, on the Royal Enfield Bullet she rode for 21 days over 8, 852 kilometres from Sydney to Perth and back in 1950.

The earlier versions of the Royal Enfield Bullet.

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