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Malvern Star is a manufacturer of bicycles, located in Melbourne, Australia. It began in 1902, and went on to become a household name in Australia.

Malvern Star opened in a small shop at 58 Glenferrie Rd, in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern in 1902. It was started by cyclist Tom Finnigan who established the shop with the prize he earned (240 gold sovereigns) by winning the 1898 Austral Wheel Race. Finnigan specialised in touring and racing bikes, which he called Malvern Stars. The business grew with the popularity of cycling and despite competition from English and American firms. Part of Finnigan's success was due to the endorsement of Don Kirkham, one of the best-known Australian cyclists. Finnigan introduced a logo featuring a six-pointed star, which matched a tattoo on his forearm, used throughout the 1900s. His family is still in the bicycle trade, running a shop in Northcote. [1]

Finnigan retired and on 1 June, 1920, the business was bought by 24-year-old Bruce Small. His brothers, Frank and Ralph, joined in the business, enlarging the shop (despite a number change, still the same shop - 158 Glenferrie Rd). Small offered prizes in cycle races, resulting in 17-year-old racer Hubert Opperman winning a prize in 1921, and impressing Small so much that he offered him a job. Thus started a long relationship, with Small friend and sponsor of Opperman.

Small began a successful credit scheme, revolutionary at the time, to increase sales. The retail business expanded in 1923 to Gardenvale, and in 1925, the headquarters moved to Prahran. The Australian teams in the Tour de France in 1928 and 1931 were sponsored by Bruce Small and Malvern Star[citation needed].

With the Second World War, the supply of bicycle parts became scarce, so Malvern Star started manufacturing its own. Defence contracts help growth of the business. At its peak after the war, Malvern Star had 115 stores with 1,000 dealers. Opperman helped promote Malvern Star and make both a household name in Australia.[1]

After the war, Small's Malvern Star bicycles were ridden by Sid Patterson, who won the world sprint championship in Copenhagen in 1949, the world pursuit championship in Liège (1950), the professional pursuit in Paris (1952) and professional pursuit in Zurich (1953). At the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Ian Browne and Tony Marchant won a gold medal on a Malvern Star tandem.

In 1970 companies under the Malvern Star banner were purchased by the Dutch multinational Philips, which sold Malvern Star in 1980 to Raleigh, the British manufacturer, giving it a major share of the Australian market. Changes in ownership of Raleigh's parent company led to Malvern Star returning to Australian ownership in 1992 under Pacific Brands.[1]

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