Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Mrs Florence Starr recalls getting her motorcycle license in 1925 in Liverpool, interviewed 1986

Mrs Florence Starr, interviewed in 1986 for 'Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900-1960' project, came to live in Austral in 1925 when she was first married at the age of seventeen. She recalls her motorbike riding prowess.


FLORENCE: Well I did ride a motor bike before I should have rode a motorbike, when I was thirteen. And I had the first license for a motorbike of any female in Australia. When we could afford the outfit, the Harley Davidson outfit [motorbike with sidecar], I went in to Liverpool [police station] and he said to me 'You've ridden a bike - before the last few weeks' (when I had the permit to learn to ride).

INTERVIEWER: Did you have to do a test to get your license to drive the motorbike?

FLORENCE: Yes, I had a very severe test. As a matter of fact, he made me do the figure of eight three times without stalling the motor or tipping. It's very hard to ride an outfit and do a figure of eight with an outfit, because the sidecar keeps lifting off the ground. They had one chap in there who could ride an outfit, he had an outfit himself and he could ride it, one of the policemen. So I did the figure of eight three times and didn't stall the motor, although the sidecar wheel didn't touch the ground, all the time it was up off the ground. And then I said to him 'You ride a motor bike, don't you? You've been riding for years.' He said 'Yes'. I said 'Now you get on and do the figure of eight three times without stalling the motor,' and he couldn't do it, he couldn't do it. So I could ride a motorbike better than he could, yeah.

Contributed By
(Detail from interview with Mrs Florence Hilda Starr, from the 'Looking back at Liverpool : an oral history of the Liverpool region 1900-1960' conducted in 1986 by Liverpool City Council, editor and project co-ordinator Catherine Johnson ; researchers Angela Imbrosciano, Verica Miiosavijevic, Kathleen Smith.)