One of the fascinating and unexpected aspects of exploring our First World War records is discovering different types of fund-raising events no longer seen today. One that caught my eye was a ‘motor gymkhana’.
The Automobile Club of Queensland held a Patriotic Motor Gymkhana on 10 October 1914 with the Motor Cycle Club and the Cyclists’ Union. Held at the Exhibition Grounds in Brisbane, the Gymkhana featured a number of events throughout the Saturday afternoon.
An article in the Queensland Figaro described the sporting events as “interesting and (of an) unusual nature”. The flyer for the Gymkhana contained in Police Department correspondence, and pictured below, certainly makes interesting reading. It seems a great sense of fun was intended to be had during this fund-raising occasion. All proceeds were to go to the Queensland Patriotic Fund.
The sixth event, called the Refreshment and Needle Threading Race for Motor Cars, caught my eye. There was a driver and a lady competitor. The lady competitor fared well in this race as she got to alight from the car at three different tables and
- eat a scone
- drink a glass of water, and
- thread a needle.
After each task she got back into the car and then it was a race to the finish line.
Other events included obstacle races for touring and single seater cars, a motor cycle despatch race, musical chairs for motor cars, a rescue race for motor cycles, cleaving the enemy’s head (lances were provided) and a motor cycle versus bicycle race. All the details are contained in the flyer including prize money. The highest prize money of £4 4s was awarded to the best team in the motor cycle despatch race and gents and ladies had the same opportunity to win £2 2s in the obstacle races.