This ladies’ bicycle was purchased by Mrs Sally McMinn in the late 1940s from a surplus store in Taumarunui. It is therefore likely it came from HMNZS Irirangi, the Naval Communications Station which was established at Waiouru in 1943. During the war more than 80 women from the Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service (WRNZNS) were stationed there as Telegraphists.
Bicycles were, and still are, commonly used on naval bases as a way to get around. Until a few decades ago, Navy standard issue bicycles were painted red and known as ‘Pusser’s Red Devils’: pusser being in-house slang for the Navy.
When it arrived the bicycle was very dirty. The Collections Team have given it a basic clean, brushing and wiping it with conservation-approved cleaning solutions. More work will be needed to remove and stabilise corrosion. A bicycle carrier on the back was also removed as it was not original to the time of its naval use.
Donated by William McMinn, Sally McMinn’s son.