The Cycling Craze Video
Running time 2.52
Filmed and edited by Jo Clyne, 2015
History Teachers' Association of VictoriaContributors
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History Teachers' Association of Victoria Royal Historical Society of Victoria
Royal Historical Society of Victoria curator David Thompson speaks about MacRobertson's enthusiasm for cycling in the late nineteenth century.
DAVID THOMPSON: In the 1890s bicycling had become a real craze in Melbourne and Macpherson Robertson, as usual with his eye to the publicity game, decided that he would import bicycles.
So he began importing American Monarch Bicycles and heavily advertising them. He also began to link cycling with his products in particular with his chewing gum, putting forward the theory that chewing gum was of great benefit to cyclists and other athletes. And so there are many advertisements featuring cyclists and chewing gum.
Macpherson Robertson was quite favorably disposed to female cyclists, in fact he sponsored female cycling road races, and in his advertisements – particularly for his chewing gum – they very often featured female persons on bicycles. So he was quite a proponent of female participation in sport, like cycling.
He also introduced so-called ‘sociable’ or ‘companion’ bicycles, which involved two people sitting side by side on one bicycle. He made a great publicity stunt using these bicycles when he proposed the idea that people could have a wedding on bicycles in which the bride and groom would be seated on one of these companion bicycles and all the other members of the wedding party would also be seated on bicycles.
Macpherson Robertson started a cycling school to go along with his selling of bicycles and he hired a gentleman, Professor Eckenstein, who was running the cycling school. The cycling school would teach things like musical cycling, cycling quadrilles, dancing cycling and illuminated cycling. Macpherson Robertson and his cycle team would perform at society events such as garden parties and so on, including doing such things as wrestling on bicycles, which we haven’t quite worked out how exactly that was done and what it would have looked like. [laughs]
The bicycle craze didn’t last all that long and by the early 1900s was starting to die down.
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Walking the White City video
The Marketing Man
The Marketing Man Video
MacRobertson's Horses Video
The Cycling Craze
The Cycling Craze Video
MacRobertson and the Motor Car
The MacRobertson Legacy
Mac.Robertson Girls' High School video
MacRobertson Land, Antarctica
Old Gold Airplane
Story education resources
Education MacRobertson's Confectionery Factory - Education Kit
The MacRobertson's Confectionery Factory education kit has been designed for grades 2 and 3 and looks at themes such as 'the past in the present' and 'community history'.
Key themes include:
1. Historical buildings and monuments
2. Victorian industry and the workforce
3. Technology and transport
4. Advertising and design
5. Local history
Teachers and students use the kit in conjunction with the MacRobertson videos, images and stories available on Culture Victoria to complete a range of activities aligning with key historical skills such as:
1. Distinguishing between the past, present and future
2. Posing questions about the past using sources provided
3. Exploring a range of sources about the past
4. Identifying and comparing features of objects from the past and present
5. Exploring a point of view
6. Developing a narrative about the past
7. Using a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written, role play) and digital technologies