Bicycle and MAAS stand, girls, 26 inch, metal/rubber/leather, A G Healing, Australia, 1954
The bicycle was made by A.G. Healing Ltd. This company was founded by Alfred George Healing, who was born in Richmond, Victoria, in 1868. In 1898 Healing obtained the Victorian agency for the English "Haddon" bicycle and operated as A.G. Healing and Co. in a small factory and shop in Bridge Road, Richmond. Healing imported the bicycle parts and made up the bicycles though he is said to have made his own tyres. From 1899 to 1910 he was in partnership with E.A. Summers. The company took off after an error was made in the orders and the firm ended up with twice the number of bicycle parts and no finances to pay for them. To solve this Healing cycled all around Victoria selling the parts and found that there was a large market for bicycles. The business transferred to Melbourne in 1902 and in 1904 the partnership was dissolved and Summers took over their New Zealand branch office which Healing had previously established.
In 1912 the firm became a proprietory company, and Healing became the governing director in 1927. Alfred Healing's son, Keith joined the firm as an apprentice bicycle maker in 1921 in the family factory on the corner of Queensbury and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne. The staff grew to about 50 and 25,000 bicycles were made per year at the peak of production. Branches were established in all states.
The firm diversified into importing and selling Atwater-Kent radios in 1933 however prohibition on imports saw the company making their own radios, learning as they went along. In 1956 the company formed an alliance with the American company, Dumont for the manufacture of televisions and moved into making washing machines under the brand name Thor and refrigerators under the name of Crosley.
By the 1950s the firm became more interested in making domestic appliances and sold the Healing bicycle division of the company in all states, including the manufacture and distribution, on the 14 August 1959 to the English company, General Accessories Pty Ltd.
The bicycle was given new to the donor, Mrs Melva Thompson then Melva Denning, for Christmas in 1954 when she was about 12 years old. She lived at Flat 5, 52 Bellevue Road, Bellevue Hill in a block of flats which had been built in 1939. Her parents had moved into the flats in 1940. There were a number of families in the flats and they were all like one big family. All the children had bikes and would ride around the streets together, to the shops at Double Bay or out to Bondi Beach for a swim. Melva would often ride to the shops to buy small items for the evening meal such as eggs and chops and carry them home in the bike's carry basket. As she was an only child and somewhat over-indulged, the bicycle was not greatly used and always garaged.
The bike was purchased new from the New South Wales Healing branch factory at 200-218 Goulburn Street, Surry Hills on the corner of Riley Street, where the donor's step brother worked. As well as bicycles, the Sydney firm also made motor car and truck spare parts for GMH, garage tools and equipment, plater's requirements, radios, referigerators and vacuum cleaners from a least 1941.