The National Motorcycle Museum Of Australia

About The National Motorcycle Museum

No matter what brand of motorcycle you like there’s something for everyone at the National Motorcycle Museum of Australia.

Now we’ve featured the amazing little museum in LTR before, but with an ever changing collection of motorcycles, we thought why not drop back in and check it out, especially considering it’s been a few years.

Located at Nabiac in NSW, 140km north of Newcastle, the museum has well over 800 motorcycles on display, making it the largest collection of Vintage, Veteran and Classic motorcycles in the country.

With three sheds packed row after row of bikes, it really is impressive and usually takes one or two hours to work your way around the entire museum.

If you’re a serious bike enthusiast though, you could easily lose track of time and spend hours looking around and reading some of the interesting history adorning all the walls.

A Tour Of The National Motorcycle Museum

Walking into the museum it was a bit overwhelming at first glance – where do you start? What do you look at first – the bikes or the memorabilia?

Well, it doesn’t take long to find some direction as you soon feel yourself drawn to certain motorcycles, like I mentioned, there’s something for everyone.

First stop for us was the Dale Buggins display (Australia’s very own Evil Canival).

They had one of his bikes on show along with photos, newspaper articles and parts of his clothing he wore. It was a shock to read he committed suicide at a young age.

And what about the Waratah motorcycle, which was believed to be built here in Australia!

It’s estimated there were only 6 to 8 bikes built and any information is always welcomed by the museum.

Motorbikes On Display To Dazzle Your Eyes

Some of the bikes on display were nothing short of amazing and included Harley-Davidson, Indian, BSA, Douglas, Acme, Benelli, Excelsior, Waratah, Federal, Iver Johnson, Rove and Bartley Perry just to mention a few.

Another interesting bike was the Byron special that was built by Andy Byron Cycle in Temora.

What makes it so special is that it’s estimated he only built eight bikes.

The Militaire Autocycle Company from Cleveland built its first machine in the early 1900s, and as the name suggests it was designed for the military, however it was too long and heavy and was often stopped by the mud in France during WW1.

It was a single cylinder machine with hub centre steering, a steering wheel and retractable outrigger wheels at the rear which had wooden rims – and quite interesting to see up close.

After you had seen the entire collection which includes sports bikes, cruisers, race bikes, Vespers and even a Nera Car, it was time to start with the memorabilia.

There really was some amazing stuff to be found like race history records, models, spare parts – pretty well anything to do with motorcycles was there on show including trophies, awards and even rare artwork.

There was no shortage of oil tin signs, oil bottles and fuel pumps either.

Once you’d viewed everything in the three sheds it was time to head to the gift store to purchase some merchandise.

There were still more things to look at in there as well like old tin toys and a large model train display. It really was interesting to look back at some of the toys we had when we were kids.

All in all it is more than worth the visit, and I’m sure you’ll learn a few interesting facts while you’re there.

A Brief History About Preserving The Australia’s Motorcycling Heritage

The National Motorcycle Museum was originally located in Mitchell in the ACT where Brian and Margaret Kelleher first opened its doors in 1990.

At the time they’d both been in the motorcycle retail industry for 18 years.

Prior to Brian having the motorcycle business he was also an avid motorcycle collector, with a dream of one day opening his very own museum.

When the Kelleher’s read in a Bureau of Statistics report in 1988 that substantial numbers of our old motorcycles were leaving the country for the USA, Japan and England.

They believed that unless something was done promptly, much of Australia’s motorcycling heritage would be lost.

This was the trigger to start the museum for their collection and to offer a home to some of the motorcycles sitting in people’s sheds all over Australia.

After trying to obtain some government funding with no luck they decided to set the museum up themselves.

They operated the museum for 10 years in Canberra before selling the motorbike business and heading to the Mid North Coast.

It’s there they built a purpose built complex that houses over 800 motorcycles, as well as a huge array of motorcycle memorabilia, toys, a large private library along with a motorcycle themed gift shop.

Among their favourite machines on display at their museum are a Kenilworth scooter (1919), a twin cylinder water-cooled 2 stroke Scott, and a Vincent Black Knight.

Donations and Loans

The National Motorcycle Museum of Australia is an organisation solely funded by the Kelleher family who rely on donations and the time volunteers are able to help.

And although most of the motorcycles are owned by the Kelleher family, there are still quite a few that are loaned to the museum, ranging from short to long term loans, and can be returned to the owners when requested.

The museum is always on the lookout for any old or unusual bikes, and it doesn’t matter if the bikes are in restored condition or not.

The museum also has a huge library of motorcycle books and magazines on display. They are again looking for donations to add to their collections.

The museum will restore any items of literature that need attention, they also place a note in the book stating who donated the item and a thank you notice in the piece.

Those interested in loaning machines or memorabilia should contact the museum by phoning 02 6554 1333.

Check out our LiveToRide magazines for more exciting information and keep your passion for riding alive always.

Read our LiveToRide publications for more great information and keep your riding passion alive.

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