1927 Gypsy Tour

The Best Early Indian Photo Ever!

Grandpa helps with Indian restoration
   
Memorabilia of Indian Motocycle Agent and Racer, Ivor Dennis.
including...

The Best Early Indian Photo Ever!

Over 40 bikes and 70 club members during a rest stop on a 1927 Gypsy Tour rally.

A very detailed poster of massive A1 size including the text from this recently discovered original newspaper article about the rally.

You can click on the article for more readable text.

The poster was reproduced from the post card sized original shown resting on the top left corner in the above picture and in the featured section below.

I apologise for the distortion: it is difficult to photograph the poster straight on without reflections. The original photograph was in the family album, and shows my grandfather surrounded by vintage Indians on a rally.  Because of the high level of detail and clarity, I decided to have it enlarged in attempt to find out more about it.

My Grandfather Ivor Dennis (wearing the business suit in the centre of the picture, holding the end of the club banner), was the first Indian Motorcycle Agent in Australasia, selling Indian Motorcycles from his shop in Main Street Bairnsdale, in country Victoria. Competing in the 1920, 200 mile Australian Classic in Sale, Victoria, Ivor came home to third place whilst riding a 1917 "Powerplus" Indian.  I believe the Indian Scout 101 which my dad John and I are restoring, was originally sold by Ivor.

Several of the bikes in the photo displayed signs that read: Gypsy Tour - Melbourne to Sydney.  Ivor greeted the group in Bairnsdale and organised the photo to promote his business.

Looking at the bikes in the photo we concluded that it was likely to have been taken in 1927/28, and contacted the State Library of Victoria (Australia) for assistance. They discovered a newspaper article from the Sydney Morning Herald, dated 29/12/1927. Although it was printed without a photograph, it clearly described the group in our photo (The Indian Motorcycle Club of Victoria) mentioning some of the characters and bikes. The article also described the route taken, condition of the roads, and what activities were planned on arrival.

Those seeing the original photo, suggested that if I ever had it reproduced, they would like to buy a copy. With permission from the Sydney Morning Herald to reproduce the article, I decided to combine the two and have some printed in A1 poster size (24" high and 33" long and supplied in a mailing tube) to swap for parts to complete the restoration of a 1928 Scout 101 which my father John restored and maintain.  So yes, my grandfather's photo has helped us participate in our expensive hobby.

Members of the current Indian Motocycle Club of Australia organised a re-run of the Gypsy Tour just over 80 years after the original event. Click this link for more information about the 2008 Gypsy Tour rally including an itinerary. Since the release of the movie "The World's Fastest Indian" starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro, public interest in the history of Indian Motorcycles has intensified, so the  re-enactment of the Gypsy Tour Rally was quite an attraction.  

Darryl Woodhouse


The above photo is an enlargement of the centre of the poster featuring a 4 cylinder Indian Ace.  This was originally thought to be the Bond family mentioned in the article but recent contact from that family has corrected this misconception.  After receiving a copy of the poster, relatives found the bond family in the top right section of the picture.


Young Lindsay Bond is sitting with his legs dangling.  His father Charles Bond and mother Rose stand behind him.  Lindsay's family lives in Batemans Bay on the southern New South Wales Coast. 
 
The 2008 re-enactment of the Gypsy Tour included a rest day in Batemans Bay, but sadly Lindsay was unaware of our visit at that time. Sadly he had passed away before we held the next re-enactment in 2013, but his family were able to catch up with the rally participants
 DW April 2013.

Here is a recent comment on an Indian enthusiasts' list:

              "G'day everyone.
   A fella here in Oz called Darryl Woodhouse is selling these Indian Motorcycle Club of Victoria posters.  They are a blow up of a club run to the country that his father went on in the 20s.  (actually it was my grandfather. DW)
  
I received one today and it's fantastic. Very large and suitable for framing. So anyone who likes the older non skirted machines would love this.
 
   $20 Aussie (approx. 16 US) plus postage. Here is the eBay link*, and tell him Ken sent you.  I get nothing out of this.  It's just such a nice poster, thought some of you may like a copy."

 

*The poster can often be found on eBay by searching for the keywords Gypsy Tour Poster
Better still, I have it listed in my own web store.

Darryl Woodhouse
PO Box 777
Bairnsdale Victoria 3875
South Eastern Australia
Ph. (61)3 51526495