The opening of the Indian Motorcycle Museum of Australia in March 2014 was much more than just the culmination of many hours of hard work by those directly involved in the transformation of two disused industrial buildings on a corner block into a showpiece establishment for the famous American motorcycle company, it was also the realisation of one man's dream to share not only his motorcycle collection but his passion for and knowledge of the iconic brand built in the United States.
That man and the museum owner is Darryl White. First introduced to Indian motorcycles while "as a young fella riding bikes", Darryl has since amassed a collection that would certainly make the late Indian Motorcycle Company founder George Hendee very proud. The first Indian Darryl owned was a 1922 Powerplus but it was to make way two years later for a 1944 Chief, a motorcycle Darryl still owns and rides today, and from there the passion was ignited and his incredible collection of motorcycles and memorabilia began.
Darryl may not consider himself a historian in the true sense of the word - he would probably say he's more a man who knows a lot about something he truly loves - but after a lifetime of travelling the world in the pursuit of all things Indian motorcycles he simply had so much historical information on the American manufacturer "stuck in a cupboard" that he felt he needed to take it out and share it with the public. Hence the idea for the Indian Motorcycle Museum of Australia was hatched between himself, his wife Donna and some close mates who share his passion and were excited by his dream.
The Opening Day itself was an outstanding success. Bathed under blue skies, well over 1000 visitors from around Australia and across the waters to New Zealand lined up early to get a glimpse of what had been built for their enjoyment and they weren't disappointed. Indian motorcycles from every era lined the streets surrounding the museum and their unique sounds echoed around. From the early 1900's right through to the new range of motorcycles now being manufactured by Polaris, out from the farm sheds after being handed down through the generations of families to brand new off the showroom floor ... they were all there on show.
Darryl has been fortunate to forge many friendships around the world through his love of Indian motorcycles, probably none more important than the one he shares with his good friend John Steelman from Ohio. With John's help Darryl has continued to build his collection over time and it was a chance, off the cuff remark between the two that led to Darryl's purchase of a rare 1913 Dayton from John which he shipped home to Brisbane and now has sitting proudly amongst the exhibits at the museum.
John however is not the only USA connection with intimate ties to the Indian Motorcycle Museum of Australia. Internationally renowned muralist Eric Henn, also from Ohio, travelled to Australia with John prior to the opening to paint a number of murals for Darryl including a striking "super mural" out the front of the museum. Eric's work is world class, the detail fine and exact and his work is just one more reason to drop by and see it for yourself.
Open the first and last weekend of each month - Saturdays 9.00AM to 4.00PM and Sundays 9.00AM to 2.00PM - the museum caters for individual patrons as well as groups with tours led by Darryl himself proving to be quite popular with visitors of all ages. The museum facilities include themed display areas, the recently opened Burt Munro Cafe where you can enjoy coffee and food on the deck as well as a gift shop and is family and disabled persons friendly.
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