Mary Watson's 1927 Indian Scout
Malborough woman Mary Watson saw plenty of the countryside aboard her 600cc, 1927 Indian Scout motorcycle in the early 20th century. As if a woman riding a motorcycle wasn’t eyecatching enough back in the 1930s, Mary Watson’s bike was equipped with something that made heads turn even more.
A washing machine.
Yes, you read that correctly – Mary Watson’s motorcycle served as a travelling laudromat for many of the housewives near to her own base of Seddon.
A keen motorcyclist since 1924 and the very first ‘lady rider’ to be part of the Blenheim Motor Cycle (she’d been, over the years, the proud owner of a V-twin machine, followed by an Alldays-Allon two stroke, then a BSA, and a Royal Enfield 350cc), Mary Watson was nothing if not practical.
Soon, her Indian Scout - one of a plethora of classic motorcycles from the famed American brand - was fitted with a specially-designed sidecar that contained an electric washing machine, vaccum cleaner, and even an iron.
Mary Watson’s motorcycle eventually found a home here at Classic Motorcycle Mecca in Invercargill. We’re thrilled to be able to display this piece of Kiwi memorabilia – it’s the epitome of the Number 8 Wire mentality we Kiwis pride ourselves on. We hope you enjoy seeing a little slice of New Zealand history here within our collection, too.