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Photographs supplied by John Huth

A garden commemorates James MacDonald who was a member of the Highfields Pioneer Village and the Queensland Penny Farthing and Historical Cycle Club. The Pioneer Village holds the James Macdonald Cycle collection. 

James Macdonald was one of the deepest founts of cycling knowledge in Australia, if not the world. His East Toowoomba home still stands as a monument to cycling history, every corner of the "living museum" holding some hidden treasure of the past. James lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday at age 58, just six weeks after being diagnosed.

His family yesterday related their memories of the avid collector, surrounded in the natural light by endless shelves of books, mechanical contraptions and ancient bikes. 

James was born into a military family in Canada in 1955 before moving to Australia at age 2.  His first devotion was to motorcycles and he started a mechanical apprenticeship just after finishing high school. During his first week's work he suffered a crushed ankle in a motorbike crash which led to a three-year stint in hospital and a considerable compensation payout. He used the money to buy a "huge" British motorcycle collection, vacant land in Ravensbourne and what became his family's home in Hume St. The switch from motorcycles to their leg-powered precursors began with the purchase of his first penny farthing in 1999. 

When the Canberra Bicycle Museum closed down (just across the road from his childhood home) he bought most of the collection. At age 50, James rode a century-old single-gear bicycle from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Sydney "without even getting a puncture". He was a hoarder in every sense, but with an incredible gift for organisation.

Cycling Queensland vice-president John Osborne was devastated by news of his death. "I will miss his friendship and his passion for all things cycling. His passing will leave an enormous hole in the cycling community."
The Chronicle, 7 February 2014. 



Address:Wirraglen Road, Highfields Pioneer Village, Highfields, 4352
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.441489
Long: 151.957203
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Garden
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

10 / 10 / 1955 to 4 / 2 / 2014
Dedicated To James
In Gratitude,
Valued Member Of 
Highfields Pioneer
Museum & Park Inc.,
And The Queensland
Penny Farthing
And Historical
Cycle Club.


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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