Peter Jones, who was born in England, was a joiner, cabinet maker and boat builder. In the late 1960s he began to write feature articles for Australian motorcycle magazines, such as Two Wheels and Revs, and he eventually became a full-time writer. He developed a special interest in the early history of motorcycling in Australia and accumulated a great deal of research material and memorabilia on the subject. He was President of the Historic Racing Register. His book Historic Motor Cycling was published in 1978. He also compiled The Classic Age of Motoring (1980), a pictorial work to commemorate the holding of the 1978 International Veteran and Vintage Motor Rally on the eastern coast of Australia.
After 1980 Jones’ interest in motorcycling waned and he advertised for sale his collection of books, magazines, manuscripts, photographs, posters and sound recordings. The collection was purchased by the Library in 1986.
The Jones Collection covers all aspects of motorcycles, such as their history, models and makes, road racing, trials, scrambles, hill climbing, speedway, quarter mile racing, tourist trophy, clubs and biographies of riders. There is a strong focus on the annual Bathurst events.
Manuscripts and Papers
The manuscripts and papers relate largely to the history of motorcycle racing in Australia and the research undertaken by Jones for his book Historic Motor Cycling. They are arranged in the following series:
- Correspondence, 1974–85
- Manuscripts and notes
- Subject files, 1900–72
- Competitions — Bathurst, 1931–80
- Competitions — general, 1929–80
- Clubs, 1948–82
- General printed material
- Press cuttings, 1908–69
The oral history component of the collection comprises 17 reels and three cassettes. The condition of some of them is poor.
In addition to the large number of photographic prints, there are 135 slides, 141 transparencies and 4103 acetate negatives of motorcycles, races and vintage cars.
The collection contains 83 Australian and 95 overseas serials, and 23 Australian and 67 overseas books. A majority of the serial titles comprise five issues or less and no runs are complete. Among the more substantial runs are:
Australian Motorcycle News (Melbourne) 1967–79
Australian Motorcycle Action (Melbourne) 1972–75
Motor Cycle Mechanics (London) 1963–74
The Motor Cycle (London) 1933–38 and 1950–67
Revs (Sydney) 1967–70
Two Wheels (Melbourne) 1969–82
The manuscripts, papers and photographic prints in the Jones Collection are kept together in the Manuscripts Collection at MS 9213. A finding aid is kept in the Manuscripts Reading Room but is not yet available online. The slides, transparencies and negatives are kept in the Pictures Collection at P2245 and PIC 8582. There are no listings. The oral history recordings are kept together in the Oral History Collection at TRC 2469. They have not been individually catalogued.
The books and serials have been integrated into the Australian and general collections.