|Source: A Barker Collection|
What does a SECOND LOOK, tell us about the scene. The people riding the bikes are often women, riding in small groups. In this example there are three women, smartly dressed, with beautiful wide hats. There long hair, secured under their hats. Women on the goldfield were an adventurous lot, and very independent. Often they had to be, their boyfriends/husbands/fathers working long hours in the mines. They did things that women in other areas may not have had the opportunities to tackle. It was quite normal to set off on a ride, the bicycle was liberating for both men and women alike, allowing them to travel so much easier.
|The fishing rocks area today - the wide still not very wide!|
Source: Google maps
Description: 1898. Looking east up the Waiotahi Valley, from the corner of Williamson Street where it meets the beach (now Beach Road), Thames, showing the Royal Hotel on the corner Williamson and Owen Streets (centre) and Messenger's Hill (left rear horizon), and a crowd of cyclists gathered for the opening of the cycling season.
Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-18981125-1-1'
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-18991208-5-5'.
PLAYING SPORT on the THAMES GOLDFIELDS: 1867 - 1920, by Althea Barker
To Find A Fortune, Women of the Thames Goldfield 1867-1893 by Rosemary Killip, Victoria University of Wellington, 1995